WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pvt. Laurel W. Ebert, 27, of Blairstown, Iowa, killed during World War II, was accounted for on July 1, 2019.
On Nov. 26, 1942, Ebert was a member of Company I, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, serving as part of a nine-person patrol to find and silence an enemy machine gun position somewhere west of the Sanananda Track in the Cape Killerton area of the Australian Territory of Papua (present-day Papua New Guinea.) Six members of the patrol, including Ebert, failed to return following the mission. He was subsequently listed as missing in action.
On Jan. 15, 1943, the remains of an unidentified American Soldier were interred at the U.S. Temporary Cemetery Sanananda #3. In March 1945, the remains were moved to U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery Finschhafen #2 where they were designated “Unknown X-44.”
In 1947, the American Graves Registration service exhumed approximately 11,000 sets of remains, including X-44, which was redesignated as X-3127, and sent to the Central Identification Point at the Manila Mausoleum in the Philippines. X-3127 could not be identified and was interred at Fort McKinley (now the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.)
In May 2017, Unknown X-3127 (X-44) was disinterred, and the remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory for analysis.
To identify Ebert’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.
For family information, contact the Army Service Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
Ebert will be buried Sept. 20, 2019, in his hometown.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,674 service members still unaccounted for from World War II, of which approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable. Ebert’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.
Ebert’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000Xhi4EAC