ST. LOUIS — DNA has helped to identify the remains of a soldier who died during World War II as a man from St. Louis. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Woodrow F. Gerdes, 31, will eventually be brought back to his hometown for a burial.
Gerdes died during a battle in November 1944 near the town of Germeter, Germany. He was reported missing in action but never listed as a German prisoner of war. Army officials later determined that he must have been killed in action.
Human remains were found in a foxhole near Raffelsbrand in April 1947. They have been buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, since 1949. The remains were removed in 2018 for identification.
Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Y-chromosome DNA and autosomal DNA analysis to aid their investigation. Anthropological and circumstantial evidence were also used to identify the remains.
Gerdes name is listed among Americans missing in World War II at the American Cemetery site in Margraten, Netherlands. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.