Remains of missing World War II soldier identified as man from Central Texas

Posted at 2:07 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 16:44:26-05

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Friday that the remains of a Waco serviceman recently accounted-for from World War II are going to be returned to his family for burial. 

Army Pfc. Lonnie B.C. Eichelberger, 20, of Waco, Texas, will be buried Jan. 10 in Houston.

 In February 1942, Eichelberger was a member of Company I, 371st Infantry Regiment,  92nd Infantry Division. 

In an era of racial segregation, the 92nd ID was the only African-American division to fight in Europe. 

The division fought at the westernmost portion of the Allied line in northern Italy from November 1944 until April 1945. 

His regiment suffered heavy losses while attacking German defenses. 

Following the battle, Eichelberger could not be accounted for and was declared missing in action.

In July and August of 1945, during search and recovery operations, American personnel recovered a set of remains in Strettoia, Italy. 

Attempts to identify the remains were unsuccessful and they were buried as “Unknown” at the United States temporary military cemetery at Castelfiorentino.

On Sept. 14, 1948, the remains were disinterred and transferred to the Leghorn Port Morgue, where the remains were declared unidentifiable and reinterred in Florence American Cemetery in April 1949.

Based on analysis of information associating the remains with two individuals still unaccounted for from the 92nd ID, the remains were disinterred from the Florence American Cemetery on June 29, 2016.

To identify Eichelberger’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.

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