A World War I veteran whose remains were lost for nearly a century is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next Wednesday, a Marine official said.
First Sgt. George H. Humphrey died Sept. 15, 1918 during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel — one of the first U.S. solo offenses during the war. Humphrey is believed to have served with 6th Marines, 2nd Infantry Division. Fellow Marines buried his body in an unmarked grave west of the French town of Rembercourt-sur-Mad, but post-war efforts to locate the gravesite were not successful, said Gunnery Sgt. William J. Dixon, the Corps’ funeral director.
Search efforts were renewed last year after French nationals, who were hunting war relics in the village located about 17 miles northeast of St. Mihiel, found artifacts that they believed to belong to an American soldier. The artifacts were reported to the French authorities, who then notified the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command, or JPAC, Dixon said.
A JPAC team traveled to France Oct. 20-23 and excavated the burial grounds, he said.
Humphrey will be buried with full military honors June 23 at 3 p.m. The service is open to all service members, families and friends to attend, Dixon said.
“There is no greater honor to me than to direct this funeral in honor of such a fallen warrior who laid down his life in defense of the world,” Dixon said. “His remains were lost to time, but only for a moment to the Marines.”