World War II

Remains of U.S. Army Sergeant from Madison Killed in World War II Found

Army Sgt. John E. Hurlburt was killed in 1944 and his funeral will be held in New Haven in August.

Army Sgt John Hurlburt
U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

A United States Army sergeant from Madison who was killed during World War II is finally returning home after his remains were found and identified.

Army Sgt. John E. Hurlburt, 26, of Madison, a member of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division, was killed on July 7, 1944, in a massive attack on the island of Saipan, according to the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Hurlburt’s remains were exhumed twice before he was identified, but officials have accounted for him, notified family and a funeral will be held in New Haven this summer.

The story behind identifying Hurlburt goes back to March 1948 when remains labeled as Unknown X-20 were exhumed and Hurlburt’s identification tags were found in the grave.

The American Graves Registration Service, however, concluded the remains were not Hurlburt and they were buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines on June 15, 1950.

But then more research was done.

Historians with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency concluded that “X-20” was possibly associated with one of eight service members, including Hurlburt.

On Dec. 6, 2018, the remains were disinterred again and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.

The lab conducted dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence, while scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis and identified Hurlburt’s remains.

His name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are still missing from World War II and a rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Hurlburt will be buried on Aug. 14 in New Haven.

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