The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. Vincent J. Ferrara, 19, of Chicago, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Dec. 17, 2018.
In November 1944, Ferrara was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, when his company attacked enemy pillboxes and defensive positions in the Raffelsbrand Sector of the Hürtgen Forest, near Germeter, Germany. The company was stopped by stiff German resistance and Ferrara was badly wounded on Nov. 14, 1944. According to a postwar account of another Soldier, Ferrara had been taken to a field hospital, however he had no further information on Ferrara’s fate. Army hospitals in Europe had no record of Ferrara being admitted as a patient and all efforts to find him on the battlefield proved unsuccessful. Ferrara was subsequently listed as missing in action.
Between 1947 and 1950, American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) investigative teams traveled to Germeter to search for Ferrara’s remains. Various graves registration units recovered dozens of unidentified remains from the Hürtgen Forest. Those that could not be identified were assigned an X-number and buried as Unknowns. In December 1950, having received no update on the status of his remains, Ferrara was declared non-recoverable.
In 1947, a set of remains was recovered by the AGRC from District #22B of woods within the Raffelsbrand sector of the Hürtgen Forest. The remains were initially processed at Subordinate Identification Point #2 at Margraten, Netherlands, then fully examined at the Central Identification Point at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, under the designation X-5440 Neuville. After efforts to identify the remains were unsuccessful, they were declared unidentifiable and interred at Neuville (today’s Ardennes American Cemetery.)
Following thorough analysis of military records and AGRC documentation by DPAA historians and scientists, which suggested a strong association between X-5440 Neuville and Ferrara, the remains were disinterred in June 2017 and sent to DPAA for analysis.
To identify Ferrara’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. 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.
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 (approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Ferrara’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with others who are missing 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.