Watch CBS News

Remains identified of Michigan soldier who was killed in the Hürtgen Forest during WWII

(CBS DETROIT) - The remains of a U.S. soldier from Michigan who died fighting in the Hürtgen Forest during WWII were identified in July.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) said Monday that the remains of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Max W. Thurston were identified on July 7, 2023. 

Thurston, of Flint, was 19 and assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. 

The DPAA says his regiment was fighting near Germeter, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest when he was killed in action on Nov. 6, 1944.

His body couldn't be recovered due to the fierce fighting, and once Americans secured the area, there was dense vegetation and heavy snowfall. 

The American Graves Registration Command investigated the Hürtgen Forest multiple times from 1946 to 1950 to recover missing Americans, but Thurston's remains weren't identified. 

Thurston was officially declared "Killed in Action" in November 1944. 

According to the DPAA, one of its historians discovered unidentified remains that were recovered in April 1948 from the Hürtgen area. 

The remains, which were buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, were disinterred in July 2021. 

Scientists from the DPAA used anthropological analysis, and scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA (Y-str) analysis to identify his remains. 

A rosette will be put next to Thurston's name on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery in the Netherlands to show that he has been accounted for. 

Thurston will be buried in Holly, Michigan. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.