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World War II soldier from New York to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery

“He was buried as an unknown.”
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:51 AM HST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - In June of this year, the remains of U.S. Army Private First Class Morris E. Swackhammer of Binghamton, New York were accounted for by the Defense Department’s Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Accounting Agency.

U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Sean Everette said it was a thorough process to locate and identify Swackhammer.

“He was buried as an unknown,” said Sfc. Everette.

Around August 1944, Swackhammer’s unit landed on the southern coast of France as part of Operation DRAGOON which was to force access to vital ports at Marseilles and Toulon.

After securing the coastal ports, his infantry division headed towards Germany in November where the 20-year-old was killed in heavy gunfire.

“When he was killed in France, he was not able to be identified. His body was not able to be immediately recovered,” said Everette.

Sometime in 1945, Swackhammer’s remains were located, but they were unable to be identified due to lack of information in his records. Following extensive research efforts, Swackhammer’s remains which were previously designated at “X-756″ were exhumed in July 2019. Nearly two years later, a positive I-D was made.

“Our European and Mediterranean historians go through all of the military records and look at the burials of unknowns, where people were and where they were reported to have been lost,” said Everette.

Everette said Swackhammer’s remains are still at a military lab in Nebraska. When a date is set for his burial, he will receive a military escort from the lab to the Arlington National Cemetery where he’ll be buried.

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