Remains of WWII soldier from Bloomfield to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Army Sgt. Larry S. Wassil

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The remains of a soldier from Bloomfield killed during World War II will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on May 13. Graveside services for Army Sgt. Larry S. Wassil will be performed by Everly-Wheatley Funerals and Cremation of Alexandria, Va., preceding the interment.

A Bloomfield native, Wassil was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. His unit was part of the Hurtgen Forest offensive, near Hurtgen, Germany, when he was reported missing in action on Dec. 28, 1944, at age 33. Wassil was leading a three-man reconnaissance team scouting enemy positions near Bergstein when they started taking enemy machine gun fire, forcing them to scatter. When the gunfire stopped, the other two men found each other, but were unable to find Wassil. German forces never listed him as a prisoner of war and the War Department issued a presumptive finding of death for Wassil on Dec. 29, 1945.

Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command conducted several investigations in the Hurtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but were unable to recover or identify Wassil’s remains. He was declared nonrecoverable in December 1951.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hurtgen area, a historian with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-9118 Griesheim Mausoleum, originally discovered by German woodcutters near Bergstein and recovered by the AGRC in 1952, possibly belonged to Wassil.

The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.

Wassil was accounted for by the DPAA on July 27, 2021, after his remains were identified using circumstantial and material evidence, as well as dental, anthropological, mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA, and autosomal DNA analysis.

His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margraten, Netherlands, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.