John W. Radanovich

February 27, 1921 ~ December 1, 1944 (age 23) 23 Years Old


John W. Radanovich

Johnny Radanovich was born on February 27, 1921. Originally from White City, a small village west of Mt. Olive, he graduated from White City Grade School and continued on to Mt. Olive High School where he graduated in 1939.  He was an outstanding athlete who played multiple sports, and he was an especially talented basketball player.  After graduation, he moved to the Detroit area to be near his sisters.

Johnny's parents, Michael and Mary Radanovich, six sisters: Anna, Mildred, Rose, Evelyn, Louise, and Marie Ann, and three brothers: Joe, Louis, and Sam are deceased.

He is survived by nephews: Paul Kaganich and Milan Rulich, a niece, Marie Helen (Dan) Grandame, and several great-nieces and nephews.

While in Michigan, Johnny entered the U.S. Army on November 12, 1942 and served in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.  In June of 1944, he was shipped overseas. By the fall of that year, the Germans were in full retreat, and the Allies had pushed all the way from Normandy to Germany.  Johnny’s story continues in the Hürtgen Forest near Aachen, Germany. 

Between September 1944 and February 1945, a series of clashes took place over 50 square miles along the German–Belgian border.  This battle was one of the longest battles ever fought by U.S. soldiers and lasted from September 19,1944 to February 10, 1945.  The fighting was fierce with many casualties.  Johnny’s regiment was in the thick of it.  The weather was horrible, and tanks were limited in action.  The artillery from the Germans was unrelenting and inflicted huge numbers of casualties on our boys.  The Germans had an artillery piece called the “88”. It was an anti-tank weapon. Our soldiers said that, when fired, it sounded like a locomotive coming in sideways.  Often, these attacks lasted hours before ending. The Allied forces suffered catastrophic loss of life from this weapon. 

On December 1, 1944, the attack began at 9 a.m. It proved to be a fateful day for Johnny. He and his comrades found themselves under attack and engaged in a brutal battle which was not secured until 5:30 p.m. Sergeant Johnny Radanovich was among the 2nd Battalion’s dozens of casualties.  He was unaccounted for and listed as missing in action. 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 began investigating and reporting on missing American personnel in Europe. Starting in 1946, and lasting until recently, the search to identify Johnny amongst the many remains found after the war yielded no positive leads.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen Forest, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-2754A Neuville, which was recovered near Grosshau in 1946, could possibly belong to Johnny Radanovich.  The remains had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.  The remains 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 on 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

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August 12, 2023

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Becker & Son Funeral Home
221 S Poplar St
Mt. Olive, IL 62069

Funeral Service
August 12, 2023

2:00 PM
Becker & Son Funeral Home
221 S Poplar St
Mt. Olive, IL 62069

Graveside Service
August 12, 2023

3:00 PM
Union Miners Cemetery (Mt. Olive)


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