One More Accounted For

| May 10, 2023

Defense MIA/POW Accounting Agency



Airman Accounted For From World War II

U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Ralph D. Kolb

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Ralph D. Kolb, 19, of McGehee, Arkansas, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 14, 2022.

In the summer of 1943, Kolb was assigned to the 343rd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force. On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 Liberator bomber on which Kolb was the assistant radio operator was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed during Operation TIDAL WAVE, the largest bombing mission against the oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania. His remains were not identified following the war. The remains that could not be identified were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.

Following the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel, disinterred all American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. The AGRC was unable to identify more than 80 unknowns from Bolovan Cemetery, and those remains were permanently interred at Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, both in Belgium.

In 2017, DPAA began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation TIDAL WAVE losses. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory for examination and identification.

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

Kolb’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Kolb will be buried in McGehee, Arkansas on June 14, 2023.

Category: No Longer Missing

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Welcome home.


You were not forgotten.
Rest in peace.

RGR 4-78

Welcome Home.


SSG Kolb’s parents were Luther and Julia Kolb. His siblings were Harold, Mary and Darwin:

His Dad passed away in 1925 and was a WW1 veteran. His Mom passed away in 1971.

What is interesting is that the 1930 Census has his name listed as Donald R. Holb. 1940 census lists his name as Donald.

We speculate he went by his Middle name, Donald, on the 1930 and 1940 census even though his legal name was Ralph Donald Kolb.

His brother Harold had a son born in 1944 whom he named Donald. Donald passed away in 1945. Harold was also a Veteran.

Research indicates that in 1947 newspaper articles, Julia Kolb and the other Moms of the missing crew were identified as Gold Star Moms. All the Moms believed their sons were captured and held in a German POW camp near Berlin and when the Russians took over that camp, that Ralph Donald Kolb and his crewmates were marched to to a Rumanian Prison camp, held prisoner by the Rumanians or the Red Army.

One Mom from Compton, California traveled to DC in 1947 to meet with George C Marshall and the Russian and Rumanian Embassy asking for help to find her son as well as the other crewmen to include Ralph/Donald.

They never gave up hope. The true love of these Moms. Perfect timing for Mother’s Day.

Ralph will finally be going home to Arkansas next month to rest with his Mom and Dad, his Siblings and his namesaked Nephew that he never knew.

19 Forever Young. A Teenager.

Rest In Peace, SSG Kolb.


Never Forget.


I thank you and Dave for these posts as well as the Rest of the Story as Paul Harvey used to say.

Last weeks post on Luther H Story has an update. His funeral at Andersonville is at 1400 Memorial Day 29 May. My tribe and I plan to attend.

Mr. Luther Herschel Story was killed in combat on September 1, 1950, in Yongsan, South Korea. His remains will be brought home. A funeral service with full military honors will be held at Andersonville National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 29, 2023, at 2:00 PM. His niece Judy Wade will offer remarks followed by Major General Thomas M. Carden Jr. Mr. Story’s family will be presented with a Congressional Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart for Mr. Story’s valiant efforts. The chaplain will have an invocation and a benediction. Mr. Story will then receive full military burial honors.


Welcome home Brother. Rest in peace now.


Welcome Home, Warrior, and Rest Easy, Good Sir. We Salute your Service and Pay Honors to your Sacrifice. Every Fallen One deserves a Marked Resting Place. Account for them all.

Thanks, Dave.