Remains of WWII soldier from North Carolina identified, will be buried in Robeson County

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — An agency which accounts for missing U.S. soldiers said Thursday it has identified a North Carolina man who served in World War II and disappeared during a battle. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a news release Thursday that it identified U.S. Army 1st Lt. James E. Wright of Parkton.

The news release said Wright was assigned in September 1944 to the 5th Infantry Division, a part of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army. On the morning of Sept. 8, Wright’s unit was part of a larger force ordered to cross the Moselle River and take up a position in the woods. The force held its position against the Germans and took heavy losses until Sept. 10, when they crossed the river again. Only then were they allowed to retreat, the news release said.

Most of the soldiers were able to retreat, though some officers stayed behind to search for the wounded or missing before crossing again. Wright was among the soldiers reported missing, and his body was not recovered due to the fighting and the German presence, according to the agency.

In 2012, a private researcher for the 7th Armored Division Association suggested one of the unknowns identified only as X-46 Hamm and buried in Luxembourg American Cemetery could be a match to a soldier from Wright’s unit or the 7th Armored Division. After research and record comparison, X-46 was disinterred in May 2016 and sent to a lab at a Nebraska Air Force base for identification.

Wright’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Lorraine American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in St. Avold, France. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, the agency said. Wright will be buried Oct. 12 in Lumber Bridge, which is in Robeson County.