The remains of an Oklahoma soldier killed in World War II have finally been accounted for and are being returned to his family.
Army Pfc. Oscar E. Sappington, 19, of Dawson, Oklahoma, will be buried with full military honors on June 9, 2018, in Tulsa.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Defense, Sapping was a member of 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division in 1945. The release says his company tried to capture two hills in the Hurtgen Forest of Germany near the Raffelsbrand sector but were forced to fall back.
The next day, reinforcements led another attack and sustained "heavy losses."
At some point, Sappington was mortally wounded, but because no one from his unit could confirm his death, Sappington was reported missing in action on January 11, 1945.
In 1947, a German woodcutter found remains, but because they couldn't be identified, they were buried as Unknown, and designated X-5396.
The American Graves Registration Command investigated the Hurtgen Forest after the war but couldn't find evidence leading to the recovery of Sappington's remains and he was declared non-recoverable in 1951, according to the release.
Then, in 2016, a historian from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducted a study of records and unresolved American losses in the Raffelsbrand area and determined the remains of X-5396 were recovered in the section Sappington was reported missing.
The release says based on that research, a scientific review was done and scientists used "mitochondrial DNA analysis, as well as anthropological, dental and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and material evidence."
Sappington's remains will be returned to his family for burial. The DoD says Sappington was from Dawson, Oklahoma. Dawson is now part of the city of Tulsa located just southwest of Tulsa International Airport.