WASHINGTON, July 6, 2018 —Army Pfc. Willard Jenkins, killed during World War II, was accounted for on July 3, 2018.
In September 1944, Jenkins was a member of Company C, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion (307th AEB), 82nd Airborne Division near Nijmegen, Netherlands. On Sept. 20, 1944, while participating in Operation Market Garden, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was ordered to cross the Waal River to make an amphibious attack on the bridges. Using borrowed British assault boats, members of the PIR crowded into boats with members of Jenkins’ battalion. According to historical reports, Jenkins operated the rudder of one of the boats, and was wounded in the chest by fire, before falling overboard. Because the area downstream of the river was controlled by enemy forces, a search could not be conducted. Jenkins was declared missing in action on Sept. 20, 1944.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and the government of the Netherlands for their partnership in this recovery.
Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.
Jenkins’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with the other MIAs from WWII. Although interred as an “unknown”, his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.