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Oliver Jeffers is an American soldier who killed in the Hürtgen Forest on November 11, 1944. His remains were exhumed in April 2018 and identified on April 23, 2020.

Early Life

Oliver Jeffers was born on October 7, 1913 in Huntsville, Tennessee to Dan and Syrinda Jeffers. He was an active member of the Fairview Missionary Baptist Church. The second of five siblings, he joined the United States Army as Private First Class Company L, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.

Military Service

The 4th 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. On November 11, 1944, Jeffers was killed in action, but his body could not be recovered due to the ensuing fighting.

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 U.S. Army has fought.

Aftermath

After his death, Jeffers was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star Medal. Searches in the area between 1946 and 1950 were able to unable to recover and identify Jeffers' remains. His remains were recovered in 1946 in a minefield near Germeter, Germany, but he was identified as "X-2735 Neuville". "X-2735 Neuville" in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950. Jeffers was declared unrecoverable in 1951.

Jeffers was named at the Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands. He also had a cenotaph at Fairview Cemetery in Huntsville.

Identification

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a historian affiliated with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency speculated "X-2735 Neuville" belonged to Jeffers. The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1950, were disinterred in April 2018 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for identification.

Using dental and anthropological analysis, as well as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, scientists identified "X-2735 Neuville" as Oliver Jeffers on April 23, 2020. A memorial service occurred for him at the Fairview Missionary Baptist Church in Fairview on October 7, 2020 at 1 PM. He was buried with full military honors provided by the US Army Honor Guard from Chattanooga, Tennessee at his cenotaph in Fairview Cemetery October 21, 2020. Military personnel served as pallbearers.

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