Upstate NY WWII soldier killed in France IDed after 77 years
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — The remains of a World War II soldier from upstate New York killed in France in 1944 have been identified, defense officials announced Friday.
U.S. Army Pfc. Morris E. Swackhammer, 20, of Binghamton was accounted for June 28, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. His family only recently received a full briefing on his identification.
Swackhammer was hit by German machine gun fire on Nov. 22, 1944 in woods northwest of the village of Fraize in France’s Alsace region. His squad had to leave his body behind in the face of the enemy attack.
U.S. personnel in 1945 recovered an unidentified body from a cemetery in Fraize they thought could have belonged to Swackhammer, but they could not confirm it.
The remains were interred in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. They were exhumed in July 2019 and bought to the United States after researchers who reviewed historical records concluded the remains were “strongly associated” with Swackhammer, according to the DPAA.
Swackhammer was identified by scientists who relied on DNA, dental and anthropological analyses.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at a date to be determined.
Swackhammer was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division. His unit landed on the southern coast of France in August 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon.