POSTED: 1:20 p.m. HST, Sep 22, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 4:33 p.m. HST, Sep 22, 2010
A U.S. soldier missing from missing World War II was recovered along the Germany and Belgium border by a Hawaii-based recovery team and recently was positively identified for return to his family and burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. James C. Konyud, of Cleveland, will be buried Saturday in his hometown, the Pentagon said.
From mid-September 1944 to early February 1945, the U.S. Army fought German troops in the Huertgen Forest, along the Germany/Belgium border, in the longest continuously fought battle in American history, according to the Pentagon.
In early January of 1945, elements of the 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division were deployed to the region. Konyud, a member of K Company, 121st Infantry Regiment, was reported missing near the location.
In 2007, a German explosive ordnance disposal team working in a farm field found human remains and military-related equipment, including Konyud's military identification tag. The remains and items were turned over to U.S. Army Memorial Affairs Activity-Europe officials for analysis.
Teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam traveled to excavate the site twice in 2007 and once in 2008, recovering additional remains and crew-related equipment -- including a second identification tag for Konyud, officials said.
Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Konyud's family members -- in the identification of his remains.
More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II died, the Pentagon said. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury about 79,000 as known persons. Today, more than 72,000 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the conflict.