World War II soldier laid to rest in Pennsylvania nearly eight decades later

A soldier was taken to his final resting place in Pennsylvania 78 years after he was killed in World War II.

Army Pvt. Walter G. Wildman was buried at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newton on Monday. 

From his flag-draped casket to the playing of "Taps," Wildman received full military honors. His second cousin, Chris Wildman, was presented with his folded U.S. burial flag.

"It's important to be here to honor him and his sacrifice, and also to honor all veterans," Chris said.

However, Wildman's cousin wasn't the only family in attendance, so were his "brothers in arms."

"There’s just an attachment between military people," said Dan Smith, a Vietnam veteran. "There's a connection. No matter what, it just exists. You can't get around it."

A Britsol native, Wildman was reported killed in action on November 13, 1944, at just 20 years old. He fought in the Hürtgen Forest offensive assigned with Company M, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. 

Mario Mena with the U.S. Army said Wildman was shot in the jaw 38 days before his death. He recovered in England, before being sent back into fight.

"He fell into some of the worst fighting conditions that can exist," Mena said.

Despite his body being declared non-recoverable, remains possibly belonging to Wildman were recovered in 1947. Wildman was accounted for on January 26, 2022, after unidentified remains were disinterred in 2019 and sent to an Air Force laboratory in Nebraska.


His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to show he has been accounted for.

"There are so many Walter G. Wildmans out there who never get to come home," Mena said.