The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Sgt. John E. Hurlburt, 26, of Madison, Connecticut, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 19, 2020.
In July 1944, Hurlburt was a member of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. He was killed July 7 during a massive Japanese attack against the 105th on the island of Saipan. His remains were not known to have been recovered.
Remains labeled as Unknown X-20 were first reported as buried in the 27th Infantry Division Cemetery. The remains were initially disinterred in March 1948, and officials found Hurlburt’s identification tags in the grave.
However, the American Graves Registration Service later concluded that X-20 was not Hurlburt, and the remains were buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines on June 15, 1950.
After thorough research, DPAA historians concluded X-20 was possibly associated one of eight service members, including Hurlburt. On Dec. 6, 2018, Unknown X-20 was disinterred and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.
To identify Hurlburt’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Hurlburt’s 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. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Hurlburt will be buried Aug. 14, 2021, in New Haven, Connecticut.