RUTLAND, Ohio (AP) — The remains of a soldier from Ohio who was killed in World War II have now been positively identified, according to Defense Department officials.
Army Pfc. Worley D. Jacks, 21, of Rutland, was assigned to Company L, 232nd Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA.
Jacks’ unit was battling German forces near Lichtenberg, France, when he was wounded and reported missing in action on March 7, 1945. His body couldn’t be recovered, and the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war. On Oct. 4, 1945, the War Department declared Jacks killed in action.
After the war, the American Graves Registration Command couldn’t find any remains and declared Jacks non-recoverable. But in January 1951, a German War Graves Commission found a set of remains wearing Jacks’ ID tags while they were disinterring German soldiers from a military cemetery near Ludwigswinkel, Germany, which is about 14 miles (23 kilometers) northeast of Lichtenberg.
AGRC recovered the remains but found discrepancies between them and Jacks’ records and couldn’t understand how his remains could have ended up where they were found. Jacks was again declared non-recoverable in October 1951 and the found remains were buried at what is now Brittany American Cemetery in St. James, Normandy, France.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Lichtenberg area, a DPAA historian reviewed the case and determined German medics had recovered Jacks near Lichtenberg and moved him to the nearest German field hospital, which was in Ludwigswinkel, where he died. This information, along with a scientific re-evaluation of the remains’ estimates, made Jacks the only historical candidate for association with the remains.
The remains were disinterred in August 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification. DPAA scientists used dental and anthropological analysis, along with circumstantial evidence, to make the identification.
Jacks was accounted for in June, but his family only recently received their full briefing on the case. He will be buried in Marion, Ohio, though a date yet has not been determined.