Lyle Wayne Reab was a United States Army soldier who went missing in action during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest on November 9, 1944. His remains were recovered in March of 1948 and identified in February 24, 2021.
Lyle Reab was born on November 10, 1921 to Willy and Daisy Reab in Hamilton County, Nebraska. At some point, Read joined the United States Army Phillips, Nebraska and was assigned a private to Company F, 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Company Division.
The 28th Infantry Division took part in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. Between September 19 to December 16, 1944, American and German forces fought in a series of fierce battles in and around the Hürtgen Forest of Germany. In November 9, 1944, Reab was reported missing by his unit after engaging with German forces near Vossenack, Germany. His family would be informed of his disappearance on June 5, 1945.
The Battle of Hürtgen Forest became a defensive victory for Germany, with 33,000 to 55,000 casualties on the American side and 28,000 casualties on the German side. It was the longest battle on German ground during World War II and is the longest single battle the US Army has fought.
After the war's end, the American Graves Registration Service was tasked to identify unknown soldier's remains from the European Theatre. However, they were unable to locate and identify Reab's remains. In December of 1950, the AGRS ruled him unrecoverable. After his death, he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star and was memorialized at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Martgraten, Netherlands and at Lerton Cemetery in Giltner, Nebraska.
In March of 1948, skeletal remains of a US soldier were discovered in a foxhole on the southeast side of Vossenack. They were identified only as "X-7388 Neuville" and buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupré, Belgium in 1949. In 2018, a historian for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency noticed similarities between Reab and "X-7388 Neuville." In June of 2018, "X-7388 Neuville" was exhumed and transported to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification. At the lab, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis and DPAA scientists used dental and anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence and identified "X-7388 Neuville" as Lyle Wayne Reab on February 24, 2021.
He will be buried June 8, 2021, in Aurora, Nebraska.