The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. Lawrence E. Worthen, 20, of Santa Ana, California, killed during World War II, was accounted for on July 23, 2019.
(This identification was initially published Aug. 9, 2019.)
In 1944, Worthen was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Sept. 17, 1944, after his unit was attacked by enemy forces near Wettlingen, Germany. His remains could not be recovered after the attack.
After the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC,) U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps was the unit tasked with investigation and recovery of missing American personnel. The AGRC collected thousands of unknown remains from across northern Europe. A mass grave of several 112th Infantry Soldiers had been found near Wettlingen, and most were identified through identification tags or personal effects. However two sets, processed through the American cemetery at Hamm, Luxembourg, designated X-70 Hamm and X-71 Hamm, were declared unidentifiable, and subsequently buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery as Unknowns.
In 2017, while studying American losses and unidentified remains recovered from combat around Wettlingen, Germany, a DPAA historian reviewed documents of X-71 Hamm, and determined that there were five unresolved American casualties who were last known to have been lost in combat near Wettlingen, including Worthen.
In April 2019, the Department of Defense and American Battle Monuments Commission disinterred X-71 Hamm and accessioned the remains to the DPAA laboratory for identification.
To identify Worthen’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological analysis and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary- Europe/Africa 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 72,648 service members still unaccounted for from World War II with approximately 30,000 assessed as possibly recoverable. Worthen’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Hombourg, Belgium, along with the others missing from WWII. Although interred as an Unknown, Worthen’s grave was meticulously cared for by ABMC for 70 years. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.For family information, contact the Army Service Casualty office at (800) 892-2490.
Worthen will be buried Oct. 25, 2019 in Boise, Idaho.