Nearly 74 years after losing his life in service to our country, Omaha Army Sgt. Melvin C. Anderson is coming home to be laid to rest. Anderson's remains were accounted for in April, 2018 and his burial is scheduled for October 12th.
In November 1944, Sgt. Anderson was a member of Company C, 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, participating in intense fighting in the Hürtgen Forest. His company was deployed as direct fire support for American infantrymen attacking the town of Grosshau.
Two tank destroyers and six tanks, including the M10 tank destroyer Anderson was the tank commander on, were knocked out in the fighting around Grosshau on Nov. 25, 1944. He was killed during the battle, though his status was initially listed as missing in action. On Dec. 21, 1944, his status was amended to Killed in Action.
In 1947, an American investigation team found remains near Grosshau. The remains were later designated X-6852 Neuville. Due to the condition, they were declared unidentifiable and were interred at United States Military Cemetery Draguignan, France, today’s Rhone American Cemetery.
After research and historical analysis, historians from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency determined Anderson was a strong candidate for association to the remains. In June 2017, X-6852 Neuville was disinterred and sent to the accounting agency to identification.
To identify Anderson’s remains, scientists and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. There are currently 72,910 service members still unaccounted for from World War II.