The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pvt. Warren G.H. DeVault, 24, of Rhea, Tennessee, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 14, 2020.
In November 1944, DeVault was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, when he was reportedly killed in action on Nov. 20. DeVault could not be recovered because of the on-going fighting, and his remains were not recovered or identified.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but were unable to recover or identify DeVault’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in January 1952.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-5429 Neuville, recovered from the Hürtgen Forest in 1947 possibly belonged to DeVault. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1951, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.
To identify DeVault’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
eVault’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, Netherlands, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Arrangements for DeVault are being handled by Coulter Garrison Funeral Home. He will be buried Aug. 14, 2021, in Dayton, Tennessee.