RICHMOND, Va. -- A local World War II soldier's remains have been accounted for nearly 80 years after he was killed in combat.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) said 19-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Raymond Carlyle Blanton was from Richmond.
In October of 1944, Blanton's unit (Company C, 1st Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division) faced off with German forces near Germeter, Germany in the Hürtgen Forest.
Officials said he was killed in action on Oct. 14 of that year. Blanton's remains could not be recovered at the time because of the on-going fighting.
After the war ended, the American Graves Registration Command was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. Several efforts to locate Blanton's remains between 1946 to 1950 were unsuccessful.
The DPAA said he was declared non-recoverable in 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA historian determined that one of two sets of unidentified remains, designated X-4491 Neuville and X-4492 Neuville, possibly belonged to Blanton.
The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were disinterred in September of 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, to be identified.
Dental records, mitochondrial DNA and circumstantial evidence confirmed the identification.
After finally making it home, Blanton will be buried in Richmond on July 1, according to DPPA.
His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in zthe 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.