The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is 2nd Lt. Ernest E. Martin, U.S. Army, of Hanover, Mont. He will be buried on Oct. 11 in Ellensburg, Wash.
Representatives from the Army met with Martin’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
In November 1944, the 109th and 112th Infantry Regiments, 28th Infantry Division, were attacking east through the Hürtgen Forest in an attempt to capture the German towns of Vossenack and Schmidt. On Nov. 4, the Germans counterattacked in what would become one of the longest running battles in U.S. history. Martin, a member of C Company, 109th Infantry Regiment, was reported missing in action near Vossenack on Nov. 10.
In 2000, a German construction company found human remains in an unmarked grave while clearing wartime unexploded ordnance from the Hürtgen Forest. The remains, along with military rank and branch insignia were turned over to U.S. officials.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of Martin’s remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.