The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Pvt. James J. Cansler, 21, of Bolivar, Missouri, killed during World War II, was accounted for Jan. 29, 2020.
In December 1944, Cansler was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Vossenack, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest, when he was reported as missing in action on Dec. 19. A year later, Army officials had received no evidence he had been captured or otherwise survived combat, and so released a presumptive finding of death.
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 Cansler’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-2505 Neuville, recovered from a minefield north of Vossenack in 1946 possibly belonged to Cansler. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were disinterred in June 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.
To identify Cansler’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as material and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Cansler’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.
Cansler will be buried April 15, 2020 in Springfield, Missouri.