Remains of Alabama soldier killed in German forest during World War II identified
al.com January 26, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — The remains of an Alabama soldier killed in a German forest in World War II are headed back to the state for burial after being identified.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Army Pfc. Bill Morrison, 29, of Birmingham, was officially accounted for July 9, 2021. In November 1944, Morrison was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces in the Raffelsbrand sector of the Hürtgen Forest in Germany, when he was reported killed in action on Nov. 8, 1944. His body was not able to be recovered.
Subsequent investigations of the area were unsuccessful and Morrison was declared non-recoverable in December 1951.
Decades later, a DPAA historian investigating American losses during the war determined one set of unidentified remains, originally discovered by a German civilian and recovered in 1946, possibly belonged to Morrison. The remains, buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.
DPAA scientists used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence, to determine the remains belonged to Morrison. The identification was confirmed through mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA analysis.
Morrison’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Hombourg, Belgium, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
He will be buried in Spanish Fort. The date for burial has not been announced.
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