Historians discover WWII Army private missing for 70 years

State News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPPA) historian was studying American losses in the area of Hürtgen, Germany, when they came across a set of unidentified remains labeled with “X-8117 St. Avold.”

Those remains ended up being a 19-year-old Army private from California who had been declared non-recoverable by the American Graves Registration Command in September of 1951. After they dug him up in 2018, it took about three years for DNA analysis to identify those remains on Sept. 23, 2021, according to a press release from the DPPA.

The remains were those of Army Pvt. Archie V. Fleeman of Bell, Calif. Fleeman was killed during WWII while serving as a stretcher bearer in the forest outside of Hürtgen. On Nov. 11, 1945, he was reported missing and was declared dead on Nov. 12, 1945.

Germans first discovered Fleeman’s remains in 1946 while clearing landmines and other unexploded weaponry in the woods near where Fleeman was stationed. They buried him in Ardennes American Cemetery, a Military cemetery in Neupré, Belgium.

In 2018 DPAA historians brought the remains to their laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., for examination and identification.

Scientists with DPPA were able identify Fleeman by using circumstantial evidence, dental and anthropological evidence, while the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Mitochondrian DNA analysis, according to the release.

Fleeman is set to be buried in Oklahoma City, but a date has not been chosen at this time.

A rosette will be placed by his name on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, in Margraten, Netherlands.

Fleeman’s personnel profile can be viewed at on the DPPA website.

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