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St. Landry Parish soldier accounted for after being declared MIA during World War II

Pvt Soileau.png
Posted at 8:26 AM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 09:26:47-04

A St. Landry Parish soldier declared missing in action during World War II has been accounted for, according to the Department of Defense.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Monday that 23-year-old Army Pvt. Hillary Soileau was accounted for Dec. 8, 2020.

The Agency says that in January 1943, Soileau was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, when American forces went on the offensive to clear Guadalcanal of Japanese forces.

Soileau was wounded on January 14 during fighting on a group of hills nicknamed Galloping Horse and could not be found following the battle. Soileau was declared missing in action on February 3.

He was officially declared killed in action on December 13, 1945.

On February 22, 1943, two unidentified bodies from the 27th Infantry Regiment, later designated Unknown X-50 Guadalcanal and Unknown X-52 Guadalcanal, recovered from the battlefield near the head of Galloping Horse, were buried at the Army, Navy, and Marine Cemetery on Guadalcanal. In December 1947 and January 1948, those buried at Guadalcanal cemeteries were exhumed and transported to Hawaii. Unknown X-50 was identified there, but X-52 was not and was subsequently buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

The Agency says after thorough research, it was determined that X-52 was most likely Soileau. Unknown X-52 was disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.

To identify Soileau’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

The Defense Department says Soileau’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, along with the others who are still missing from World War II.

A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, they say.

Soileau will be buried May 21, 2022, in Washington, Louisiana.

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