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US identifies Alabama soldier killed in WW2

The US says it has identified the remains of an Alabama-born soldier nearly 80 years after he was killed fighting in Germany.

The 26-year-old soldier, private first class Noah C Reeves, was killed by German forces near the town of Vossenack on 6 December 1944.

Unidentified remains found in the area in 1948 and interred in Belgium were later determined to be Reeves'.

More than 72,000 Americans remain missing from World War Two.

Pfc Reeves was killed when his unit, part of the 8th Infantry Division, encountered German forces during the bloody Hürtgen Forest campaign, according to Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

Shortly after the engagement in which Pfc Reeves fell, German and US forces called a brief truce to allow both sides to recover their dead and wounded.

During the truce, a German officer gave Pfc Reeves' identification tags to the US side, which suggested he had died in the battle.

US forces, however, were not able to recover his remains before fighting resumed.

After the war ended in 1945, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen Forest between 1946 and 1950, but never found Pfc Reeves' remains.

He was declared "non-recoverable" in 1951.

In 1948, however, a German resident found a set of unidentified remains on a heavily wooded slope in the Kall Gorge.

While US authorities were able to deduce that the individual died in November or December 1944, they were unable to identify him and dubbed him X-5770.

A DPAA historian re-examined the case in 2021.

Researchers used a combination of "circumstantial evidence", anthropological analysis and multiple forms of DNA testing to determine that X-5770 could be Pfc Reeves.

His remains were disinterred from a US military cemetery in Belgium in August 2022.

He will be re-buried at a "on a date and location yet to be determined", according to the DPAA, which is part of the US defence department.

More than 33,000 US troops became casualties during the difficult Hürtgen Forest campaign between September and December 1944.

Over 80,000 American service members are still unaccounted for from past conflicts, including 72,115 from World War Two, according to DPAA.

Last year, investigators identified several sets of remains, including a tank commander killed in Germany and an Army Air Force pilot killed when his bomber was shot down over Sicily.

Of the total, the vast majority are in the Indo-Pacific region. About 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea from ship or aircraft water losses.