After nearly 80 years, fallen WWII soldier from Binghamton is accounted for

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 12:50 PM EST
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(WBNG) -- After nearly 80 years, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Friday that a fallen World War II soldier from Binghamton was accounted for on June 28, 2021.

According to the DPAA on Nov. 22, 1944, Private First Class Morris E. Swackhammer, a member of the U.S. Army was 20-years-old when he died while being engaged in a heavy firefight in Fraize, a commune in France. They said he was hit by bullets from a German machine gun. Swackhammer’s body was recovered by his squad, but they had to leave it behind due to a strong enemy attack. They said after Fraize was liberated, Swackhammer’s body could not be found.

Morris E. Swackhammer
Morris E. Swackhammer(The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA))

The American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was in charge of recovering the remains of fallen service members in the European Theater following the war. The DPAA said in 1945, an unidentified body was found. The remains were given the designation of X-756 Epinal by a cemetery in Fraize. The AGRC thought X-756 could be Swackhammer’s, but they could not confirm because of a lack of identifying information in his records. They said X-756 was laid to rest in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupré, Belgium.

(The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA))

In July 2019, the DPAA concluded that X-756 was strongly associated with Swackhammer and transferred the remains to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, for analysis.

Scientists from the DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis to identify the remains as Swackhammer’s. The DPAA said scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Morris E. Swackhammer
Morris E. Swackhammer(The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA))

According to the DPAA, Swackhammer’s name is on the Walls of the Missing at the Epinal American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Dinozé, France, along with others still missing from WWII. They said a rosette will be placed next to his name to show he has been accounted for.

According to a personnel profile provided by the DPAA, Swackhammer entered the U.S. Army from New York and became a member of Company C, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.

(The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA))

He will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia -- the date is to be determined.

To see Swackhammer’s personnel profile, click here.