The remains of a previously unknown World War II soldier from Rhea County who was killed and listed as missing in action will be returned to his family this August.
U.S. Army Pvt. Warren Glinn Harding DeVault was part of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division and was reported missing and killed in action in November 1944.
DeVault was the son of William “Will” Devault and Philadelphia “Delphia” Knight DeVault. He was one of 10 children.
DeVault went to Rhea Central High School where he played basketball and football. He left to join the U.S. Army his senior year and did not graduate.
He entered the U.S. Army on Nov. 14, 1942.
DeVault was a member of the 12th Infantry Regiment and was sent to Germany to assist in the battle going on in Hurtgen Forest. This was one of the longest battles the United States fought in World War II, lasting from September 1944 to February 1945. It was during this battle in Hurtgen Forest that DeVault was killed.
Following the end of hostilities, the American Graves Registration Command [AGRC] — the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps — was the unit tasked with recovering missing personnel in the European Theater. The recoveries in Hurtgen Forest were between 1946 and 1950. Many missing personnel were recovered by the AGRC. Most were identified, but a few, like DeVault, were not.
Those that were not identified were buried at the U.S. Military Cemetery Neuville, which is now known as Ardennes American Cemetery and located in Belgium.
In 2019, the Department of Defense and the American Battle Monuments Commission were sent to Ardennes American Cemetery for the remains they thought to be DeVault. Those remains were sent to a lab in Nebraska to undergo DNA identification.
Bill Davault, a Rhea County citizen and a nephew of DeVault, was contacted by the U.S. Army and asked for a DNA sample. He was later notified that a positive match was made and that the U.S. Army had positively identified his uncle, U.S. Army Pvt. Warren Glinn Harding DeVault.
DeVault will be returned to his family, and a funeral with full military honors is currently being planned for Saturday, Aug. 14, at First Baptist Church Dayton to honor this soldier who gave his all for his country.