Remains of World War II Tank Commander Identified After 79 Years

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By Ketrin Agustine

Remains of World War II Tank Commander Identified After 79 Years

Second Lt. Gene F. Walker was killed in Germany in 1944, nearly three months after his daughter was born. She learned in July that his remains had been identified.

For nearly 79 years, Anne Walker Collingwood knew little about her father, an American soldier who died about three months after she was born while fighting near Hücheln, Germany, during World War II.

Her father, Second Lt. Gene F. Walker, was the commander of a tank that was hit by an anti-tank round and caught fire in November 1944. The attack is believed to have killed Lieutenant Walker, 27, instantly, but heavy fighting in the area prevented the surviving crew members from recovering his body.

Later efforts to recover Lieutenant Walker’s remains could not determine if those found in the area were his, or if they belonged to other soldiers who had died or were missing. At home in Indiana, Ms. Collingwood’s family told her little about her father.

Then in July, Ms. Collingwood received an unexpected call: the military had identified her father’s remains.

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