The remains of two soldiers and an airman killed in World War II have been identified, according to separate statements from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Army Sgt. Thaddeus S. Matuszak, Army Pfc. William L. Simon, and Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. Frank C. Ferrel have all been all accounted for since September 2022.
Sgt. Thaddeus S. Matuszak
Matuszak was assigned to Company K, 11th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division in September 1944, according to the agency. It was part of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, which had been fighting across France. In September, the German army stopped them at the Moselle River near Dornot. Some soldiers held their position against the Germans at the edge of a forest they called Horseshoe Woods.
Matuszak was reported missing after the fight, but soldiers were unable to recover his body because of the fighting and the German army’s presence along the river.
As part of ongoing research on soldiers missing from combat at Horseshoe Woods, historians and archaeologists discovered remains that could match Matuszak. The remains were disinterred in September 2018 and sent to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for analysis. Scientists use dental and anthropological evidence to positively identify Matuszak, as well as circumstantial evidence and DNA analysis.
A rosette will be placed by his name on the Walls of the Missing at the Lorraine American Cemetery in France. He will be buried in Wisconsin.
Pfc. William L. Simon
Simon was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, according to the agency. Simon was reported killed in action in November 1944, when his unit was battling German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest.
Simon’s remains were not recovered after the battle and were not identified during investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950.
A historian with the agency determined a set of unidentified remains at Ardennes American Cemetery could be Simon’s and they were disinterred and sent to the lab at Offutt Air Force Base in 2019. Scientists used dental and anthropological evidence, along with circumstantial evidence, to positively identify the remains, as well as DNA analysis.
A rosette will be placed with Simon’s name on the Walls of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery. He will be buried in Wisconsin.
Tech Sgt. Frank C. Ferrel
Ferrel was assigned to the 328th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, according to the agency.
Ferrel was part of Operation Tidal Wave, the largest bombing mission against oil fields and refineries at Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania. He was an engineer on a B-24 Liberator bomber that was hit by enemy fire and crashed.
Ferrel’s remains were not identified after the war and were buried as unknowns alongside dozens of others at two cemeteries in Belgium: Ardennes American Cemetery and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery.
DPAA investigators began exhuming those remains in 2017, sending them to the laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base for identification. Scientists used anthropological and DNA analysis to positively identify Ferrel’s remains.
A rosette will be placed with Ferrel’s name on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy. He will be buried in Texas.