PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma soldier who was killed during World War II has been found.
In November of 1944, 34-year-old Army Pvt. Ballard McCurley was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
On Nov. 29, 1944, his battalion went to a reserve position in the woods west of Hurtgen, Germany. He and other soldiers were ordered to clear a field of tree stumps so vehicles could drop off rations and supplies.
Witnesses say that while clearing a tree stump, McCurley set off an enemy anti-personnel mine and was killed instantly. His remains were not recovered or identified immediately after the loss.
After the war, McCurley’s remains were still missing. The American Graves Registration Command extensively searched the forest for him.
While studying unresolved American losses and unidentified remains in the forest, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency personnel analyzed historical documents about remains recovered in 1948.
A DPAA historian determined that there was a likely association between the remains and McCurley. After scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis to identify McCurley.
McCurley will be buried on April 25 in his hometown of Pauls Valley.