MCKEE, Ky (WTVQ) – A 20-year-old McKee, Ky., soldier whose body was lost during his
unit’s hasty exit from a city in late 1944 during World War II has been identified.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Wednesday that U.S. Army Pfc. Berton J. McQueen was accounted for July 9, 2021.
He will be buried in McKee on Sept. 18, 2021.
According to the Pentagon, in the fall of 1944, McQueen was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.
In August, his unit landed on the southern coast of France as part of Operation DRAGOON. After securing the coastal ports, the 36th ID drove north, meeting with the D-Day invasion force before turning towards Germany.
On Nov. 22, 1st Battalion engaged in a battle with enemy troops in in Clefcy, a town in the Alsace region. McQueen’s company moved into the town to support the battle, but was pursued by German infantry.
He was mortally wounded by German artillery shrapnel and taken to an aid station where he died Nov. 23 after 1st Battalion had been forced to abandon Clefcy. German troops withdrew from the area several days later, but McQueen’s body was not found.
The American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was charged with recovering the remains of fallen service members in the European Theater following the war.
In April 1946, remains later designated X-6093 St. Avold were recovered from where they had been buried in a garden in Clefcy. They were unable to identify the remains, and X-6093 was interred in the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
Following exhaustive historical and scientific research, DPAA officials concluded X-6093 were strongly associated with McQueen. The remains were exhumed in June 2019 and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for analysis.
To identify McQueen’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
McQueen’s name is recorded 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.
A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
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