SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Scranton soldier who was killed in action during WWII, whose remains weren’t identified until 2022, will finally be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
The Defense POW/MIA (Prisoners of War/Missing in Action) Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Monday that U.S. Army PFC Francis P. Martin, 25, of Scranton, killed in action during World War II, has been accounted for as of June 21, 2022.
According to a news release, in January 1945, Martin was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 157th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division. On January 16, Martin was on a truck convoy bringing rations to the front lines, when the convoy was ambushed and surrounded by German soldiers.
A few men escaped, however, Martin was not one of them. Over the next couple of days, the German soldiers surrounded the 157th forces, preventing U.S. soldiers from searching for Martin or recovering his body, officials say.
As the release reads, with no evidence of Martin being captured in German records, surviving the ambush, or that he was held as a POW, the War Department issued a finding of death on January 17, 1946.
The American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) is an organization that began in 1947, searching for and recovering fallen American soldiers on European battlefields. They searched for Martin near Reipertswiller, France, where the ambush happened, discovering 37 unidentified sets of American remains but were unable to identify any of them as Martin. He was declared non-recoverable on October 15, 1951, the press release reads.
According to DPAA historians, they have been researching missing soldiers from combat around Reipertswiller and found the remains of Unknown X-6373 Neuville, buried at Henri-Chappelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site near Liege, Belgium, could possibly be Martin or associated with him.
Officals say X-6373 was exhumed in August 2021 and transferred to the DPAA Lab at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for analysis.
DPAA scientists said they used dental and anthropological analysis, along with scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System who used Y chromosome DNA and autosomal DNA analysis to positively identify Unknown X-6373 as U.S. Army PFC Francis P. Martin.
Martin’s name, which is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery in Dioze, France, will receive a rosette placed next to his name to show that he has been accounted for.
Martin will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, March 24. Graveside services for martin will be performed by Everly-Wheatley Funerals and Cremation in Alexandria, Virginia.
For information on PFC Martin visit his page on the DPAA website. To learn more about the family or the funeral contact the Army Casualty Office at 1-800-892-2490.
For more information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for American soldiers who went missing while serving the nation visit the DPAA website, Facebook page, or Linkedin profile.
PFC Martin’s personnel profile can also be viewed online.