George H. Humphrey – First Sergeant, United States Marine Corps

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U.S. Department of Defense

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 519-10
June 22, 2010

Marine Missing in Action From World War I Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War I, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U. S. Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey of Utica, New York, will be buried on Wednesday (23 June 2010) at Arlington National Cemetery. On September 15, 1918, Humphrey participated in the first U.S.-led offensive of the war under the command of General John J. Pershing. The battle with the Germans became known as the St. Mihiel Offensive. There were 7,000 Allied losses during this offensive and it was the first use of the American use of the term “D-Day” and the first use of tanks by American units.

Humphrey, a member of the U.S. 6th Marine Regiment, attached to the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, was killed in action during the battle and his remains were buried by fellow Marines the next day. In October 1919, a Marine who witnessed the death wrote a letter to Humphrey’s brother recounting the attack near the village of Rembercourt. He included a map of his recollection of the burial site.

Attempts to locate Humphrey’s remains by U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel following the war were unsuccessful. In September 2009, French nationals hunting for war relics found artifacts near Rembercourt-sur-Mad they believed to be those of a World War I American soldier. A month later, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the area, recovering human remains and military-related items including a marksman’s badge with Humphrey’s name engraved on the back.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC laboratory also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

World War I MIA

A hearse carries the remains of U.S. Marine First Srgeant George H. Humphrey  to a burial site
at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World War I MIA World War I MIA

A Marine honor guard carriers the casket of U.S. Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey to a burial site at Arlington National Cemetery
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

William Dixon

Marine Gunnery Sergeant William Dixon, center, salutes to signal the firing of three rifle volleys during
the burial ceremony for Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey Wednesday, June 23, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery 

World War I MIA

A Marine Corps bugler plays taps during the burial of U.S. Marine
First Sergeant George H. Humphrey Wednesday, June 23, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery 

Walter Miller

Marine Brigadier General Walter Miller presents the flag to relatives, who asked to be nameless, of
Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey during his burial at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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