- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2006

For the first time, a Pentagon group charged with finding and identifying U.S. war dead from foreign battlefields has identified the remains of a soldier killed in World War I, officials said yesterday.

Army Pvt. Francis Lupo, of Cincinnati, was killed on July 21, 1918, during an attack on German forces near Soissons, France. His remains were discovered by a French archaeologist in 2003 and identified by scientists from the Pentagon’s Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory.

Pvt. Lupo is to be buried Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery. He was 23 years old when killed.

Larry Greer, a Pentagon spokesman on POW-MIA issues, said it was the first time the remains of a World War I service member have been recovered and identified since the Pentagon established an office in the 1960s with the specific mission of identifying war dead from abroad. He said available government records do not indicate when or whether World War I remains had been recovered and identified prior to the 1960s.

The Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command has recovered and identified hundreds of U.S. war dead from other conflicts, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and Cold War-era aircraft shoot-downs.

Pvt. Lupo was a member of Company E, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division when his unit fought as part of a combined French-American attack on German forces near Soissons in what came to be known as the Second Battle of the Marne. Some have called that battle a turning point in the war, halting German advances toward Paris.

Of the 1st Infantry Division’s 12,228 infantry officers and enlisted soldiers who fought in the Second Battle of the Marne, all but 3,923 were killed, wounded, taken prisoner or listed as missing, according to a Pentagon historical report. Pvt. Lupo was reported missing in action, and no witness report or statement concerning the circumstances of his loss appears in the available records, the Pentagon report said.

Pvt. Lupo’s name was memorialized on the list of missing soldiers inscribed on the walls of the memorial chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Military Cemetery near the village of Belleau, not far from where he was killed.

A total of 116,516 U.S. service members died in World War I, of which 53,402 are recorded as battle deaths, according to the Pentagon. The United States entered the war in April 1917. The war ended in November 1918.

Mr. Greer said Pvt. Lupo’s remains were among two sets recovered at the same time at the same site. The other remains are believed to also be of an American soldier, but scientists have not yet identified them.

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