Julian Harold Rogers- Private First Class, United States Army

Julian H. Rogers
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service # 35093703
112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division
Entered the Service from: Indiana
Died: 4-Nov-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release
January 23, 2009

Missing WWII Soldiers are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Private First Class Julian H. Rogers, of Bloomington, Indiana, and Private Henry E. Marquez, of Kansas City, Kansas. Both men were U.S. Army.  Rogers will be buried in the spring in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and Marquez will be buried on May 30, 2009, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Representatives from the Army’s Mortuary Office met with the next-of-kin of these men in their hometowns to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

In November 1944, the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, was attacking east through the Hürtgen Forest in an attempt to capture the German towns of Vossenack and Schmidt. On Nov. 4, the Germans counterattacked in what would become one of the longest running battles in U.S. history.  Rogers and Marquez, both members of G Company, 112th Infantry Regiment, were reported killed in action near Vossenack on November 4. Their bodies were not recovered.

In 2007, a German citizen searching for wartime relics in the Hürtgen Forest uncovered human remains and military identification tags for Rogers and Marquez. He notified U.S. officials and a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the site later that year. The team recovered human remains and non-biological material.

Among dental records, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

Bloomington WWII soldier to be buried at Arlington
April 3, 2009

Julian Harold Rogers left Monroe County, Indiana, and the United States nearly 65 years ago. This month, the World War II infantryman will return home to a hero's burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Rogers was 21 years old and the father of a baby girl when he shipped out for war in May of 1944. Six months later he was in a foxhole in the Hurtgen Forest in Western Germany when an enemy artillery shell exploded, killing Rogers and another soldier. Later than month, Elsie Rogers' Thanksgiving dinner at her father's house was interrupted by a telegram from the War Department reporting that her husband was missing in action. Later, Elsie was advised that Harold was declared dead though no remains were ever discovered.

“I just always thought it wasn't for me to know what really happened,” said Elsie who later remarried. “I just figured I'd never know but I just thought he was in that Hurtgen Forest because that's the last letter I got from him in the Hurtgen Forest.”

The battle for the Hurtgen Forest was the longest running battle in U.S. military history as the region was the staging area for Germany's blitz a month later that led to the Battle of the Bulge. Rogers' remains were undisturbed until 2007 when an artifacts hunter discovered a tooth which led to boots, a dog tag, a helmet and bones that DNA testing confirmed belonged to the Bloomington soldier.

“I'm glad that we know what happened to him and I'm glad that his remains will be in the United States,” said daughter Connie Conard.

The Rogers family will attend the serviceman's burial at Arlington National Cemetery April 28. 2009.

“I just think its a place of honor,” said Conard. “I think he needs to be honored and I could bring him back to Bloomington and bury him but someday we'll all be gone and it'll mean nothing to nobody, but, in Arlington, he'll be honored forever.

13 May 2009:

Monroe County – A Bloomington family got the news on Thanksgiving Day 1944 that their soldier was missing in action in Germany. What happened to him stayed a mystery for decades – until now.

“You know, I was young. I didn't know him,” said Connie Conard.

For years, all Conrad and her family had was a name on the Monroe County courthouse World War Two memorial.

“I would have like to have known him, but I didn't,” she said.

Private First Class Julian “Harold” Rogers was one of the missing. Rogers was a young married soldier with a baby girl who went to war and never came home. He left a family with too few memories and too many questions. Connie Conard is his daughter.

“Last I saw him, he was going up the stairs at the train depot in indianapolis,” said Elsie Evans, Rogers' widow.

“It's something you never think would happen, you know?” said Conard.

It was 1944 when PFC Rogers left the rolling hills of Bloomington for the battlefields of Germany. His unit quickly moved into the heart of the Hurtgen Forest, which would become one of the longest running battles in US history.

“They say that was the darkest forest of anyplace in Germany. And that's where. He said he was going in. And that's the last I heard of him,” said Evans.

“Thanksgiving Day of 1944, they came to the door,” said Conard.

“Said he was missing in action,” said Evans. “It was just shock, that was all.”

Elsie without a husband. Phyllis Weddle was without a brother. And Connie Conard, just two years old at the time, would never know her dad. Rogers' remains were never found.

“It's hard. Not to have a closure like that and have a body that you can bury,” said Weddle.

But it was a reality they lived with for years, which is why Conard was so surprised to get a phone call six decades later about her father.

“And she said there's a possibility they have found your father's remains,” said Conard. “Now she said don't hold your breath because she said you know the Army's very slow. And at that time, I said yes, I do. They're 63 years slow.”

Some 63 years after Rogers disappeared, a German citizen with a metal detector made a discovery. He was searching for wartime relics at the very battlefield on which Rogers fought.

“They said he found a tooth, and then he found this metal dogtag,” said Conard.

“But then Connie called me and said they found him,” said Weddle.

“It was my dad,” said Conard.

Julian Rogers was no longer lost. His family could finally lay their loved one to rest, and Conard knew just the place.

“I can bring him home and bury him in the family plot or out there by his mother, my grandmother, but one of these days, there'll be none of us here and he'll just be another stone sitting alongside of the road. If I take him to Arlington, he'll be honored from now on and I just think that's the best I can do.I think he's fought his battle and it's time that he was honored for it.”

On a sunny spring day where row upon row of American soldiers are remembered, Julian Rogers received a final salute.

“It was just an answered prayer to know that he's back here, in the United States, and he's at rest now,” said Weddle.

Julian Rogers' remains were returned from Europe to full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, more than 60 years after making the ultimate sacrifice.

“I think he spent enough time away from us,” said Conard.

For Conard, it's a homecoming fit for a hero. “He's home, and he'll be honored at Arlington from now on and that's all I wanted”

It was a lasting tribute to the father she never knew.

Connie Conard says the discovery of her father's remains came at an especially poignant time. She got the call that they'd found her dad the same day her grandson was visiting Arlington and placing a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns.

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