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South Texas World War II hero's remains identified after 77 years

San Patricio County native Sgt. Herald R. Boyd, 25, was killed in 1945 during World War II. 77 years later, his remains have been identified.
Credit: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Remains of Sergeant Herald R. Boyd (center) have been identified.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The remains of a man killed in World War II are coming home to South Texas after 77 years, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

The DPAA said remains of Army Air Forces Sgt. Herald R. Boyd, a San Patricio County native, were positively identified on July 8, 2022, through "anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence."

Boyd was serving as a gunner on a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber on Feb. 3, 1945, when his aircraft was hit by a ground rocket immediately after dropping bombs on the Tempelhof marshalling yard in Berlin, according to witnesses from other aircrafts.  

"The pilot tried to save the plane, but he was unsuccessful, and it crashed in a residential area of Berlin," a release from the DPAA said. "Seven of the nine crew members were killed. The other two were captured and became prisoners of war."

German records did not list Boyd among the bodies recovered from the crash site, though a surviving crew member confirmed Boyd died in the crash. The War Department issued a report of death on Jan. 12, 1946, and memorial services were held shortly after in Sinton. 

After the war ended, the the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) began to investigate and recover missing American personnel in Europe. 115 sets of remains were recovered from Döberitz cemetery in Berlin near the end of 1946. 

By 1956, six of the seven missing crew members were positively identified, but not Boyd's. Investigators believed Boyd was associated with a set of remains designated Unknown X-4804 Neuville, but this could not be proven, and X-4804 was buried at Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery in Belgium, in 1957.

DPAA historians then began to conduct comprehensive research on the remains. The remains were disinterred in June 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification. 

Boyd's remains were finally positively identified through DNA testing on July 8, 2022. He will now be buried in Corpus Christi on Sept. 12, 2022 at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery, Boyd's family told 3NEWS. There is no set time yet, but we will post the time here when we are notified. 

Boyd received the Purple Heart and Air Medal for his service. 

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


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