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73 years after his death, Lincoln World War II soldier will rest closer to home
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73 years after his death, Lincoln World War II soldier will rest closer to home

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Army Sgt. Eugene McBride was only 20 when he was killed near Huppenbroich, Germany, more than 4,000 miles from his home in Lincoln.

The young husband and former Lincoln High student had joined the Army in March 1943 and was sent overseas in September 1944. Just a few months later, on Jan. 30, 1945, he died in the Hürtgen Forest from an artillery shell blast.

The Army sergeant would be gone for 73 years, but he wouldn’t be forgotten.

Nearly three weeks after he was killed, Army officials from the U.S. Military Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, received the remains of a soldier who had reportedly been killed near Huppenbroich. But without identification tags, the remains were buried in the cemetery as X-90 Margraten -- an unknown soldier.

After the war, officials scoured the forest battlefield looking for the remains of McBride and another soldier. And in 1949, they explored the possibility that X-90 Margraten was McBride, though they still couldn’t be positive, and the remains were moved to the Rhone American Cemetery in France in 1952.

McBride would be considered unrecoverable for nearly 65 years.

But in 2016, a historian with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reopened the case -- studying where the remains were found, and the personal belongings recovered with them -- and determined they were likely McBride’s.

A year later, they were disinterred and moved to an agency laboratory. Scientists used anthropological and chest X-ray comparisons, and considered circumstantial and material evidence, according to an agency news release.

And on Sept. 10 they determined they had identified McBride.

He will be buried back home, in Lincoln, on Nov. 12 with full military honors.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7254 or psalter@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter.

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