A Hero’s Journey Home: Pfc. Hood E. Cole, Missing Since WWII, Finds Final Resting Place in Georgia

In the seven decades following his World War II sacrifice, Pfc. At last, Hood E. Cole will be buried in his hometown of Georgia.

According to Audacy, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) verified that Cole, who was killed at the age of 26 during a combat engagement in France during the war, has been identified and his remains have been accounted for using contemporary scientific techniques.

Served with L Company, 3rd Battalion, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division; killed in action in January 1945 in the vicinity of Baerenthal, France.

The location of his exact death was unknown because of the fierce fighting and the ensuing delay in getting his body back.

According to FOX 5 Atlanta, Cole was deemed non-recoverable on May 11, 1951, despite inquiries by the American Graves Registration Command to locate fallen American servicemen beginning in 1947.

A Hero's Journey Home Pfc. Hood E. Cole, Missing Since WWII, Finds Final Resting Place in Georgia (1)

DPAA historians persisted in their investigation into Soldiers missing from the Baerenthal region, ultimately leading them to Cole, in an unwavering endeavor to bring closure to the families of the deceased.

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His bones were disinterred in April 2018 at the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, after being initially buried as unknowns under the names X-9441 and X-9442 in a Frankfurt Mausoleum and then relocated to Belgium. Following this, his remains were subjected to a comprehensive scientific analysis.

The DPAA positively identified Cole’s remains using anthropological and dental examination, in collaboration with scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System who employed Y chromosomal DNA (Y-STR) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) study.

He was listed on Epinal American Cemetery’s Walls of the Missing in Dinozé, France. Audacy said a rosette would be put next to his name to show that he had been found.

The trip home came to an end when Cole’s body was flown to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies and veterans carrying flags led a processional that took Cole to Georgia Funeral Care. As FOX 5 Atlanta reported, the soldier’s burial today in Canton, Georgia, with full military honors put an end to the protracted effort to find closure for a family and a country’s past.

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