By ERIN SANSON
Enquirer~Democrat/Coal Country Times Reporter
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced July 24 that U.S. Army Sergeant John W. Radanovich, 23, of Mount Olive, reported missing during World War II, was accounted for May 11, 2023.
According to his obituary Radanovich was born Feb. 27, 1921 to Michael and Mary Radanovich. He graduated from White City Grade School and attended Mt. Olive High School, graduating in 1939.
Following graduation Radanovich moved to the Detriot, MI area to be near his sisters.
He entered the Army on Nov. 12, 1942. He served in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. In June of 1944, he was shipped overseas.
In November 1944, his rifle platoon was engaged in battle with German forces near the town of Grosshau, in Hürtgen Forest, Germany when he was reported missing in action Dec. 1, 1944. Despite continued progress against German fighting positions, many soldiers were killed along the Company G battle line. Johnny was last seen during a fierce counterattack by the Germans. While the American troops held them back, his regiment could not conduct a thorough search due to the continuing battle.
Once the area was cleared, the army searched but could not find his remains. German forces did not report him as a prisoner, nor did American forces find any information regarding his disappearance. On December 2, 1945, one year and one day after Johnny was last seen, the War Department issued a presumptive finding of death.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950. None of the remains recovered during that time were identified as Radanovich.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen Forest, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-2754A Neuville, recovered near Grosshau in 1946 possibly belonged to Radanovich. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, were disinterred in June 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
Significant testing on the remains coupled with DNA samples from his sister, Louise, and his niece, Marie Helen, rendered a positive identification. After 79 years, Johnny Radanovich could be brought home to his family. His name is now recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery in Margareten, Netherlands. To indicate that he has been accounted for, a rosette will be placed next to his name.
After 79 years of waiting and wondering, Johnny’s family and community are proud to honor him in a way befitting a true American hero.
His remains will be brought by military escort to the Becker and Son Funeral Home on August 3, 2023. Visitation and service will be held on August 12, 2023 at Becker and Son Funeral Home. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. with a service to begin at 2 p.m. with Reverend Nicholas officiating. Following the service, his remains will be interred n the family plot at Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive. A luncheon will be served at the VFW John Dains Hall on Route 138 West after the internment.
Becker and Son Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Anyone wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at beckerandson.com.
Radanovich’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, 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.