METUCHEN, N.J. -- The remains of an Army Air Force sergeant from New Jersey who died during World War II have been positively identified, Defense Department officials announced Tuesday.
Staff Sgt. Michael Uhrin, 21, of Metuchen, was assigned to the 369th Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group, 40th Combat Wing, 8th Air Force in the European Theater, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA.
On Oct. 14, 1943, Uhrin was the radio operator of a B-17F Flying Fortress bomber that was flying a mission to Schweinfurt, Germany, when it was shot down by enemy fighters near Rommelhausen and Langenbergheim, Hessen, Germany. The plane was among 60 lost during the mission. Surviving crew members said Uhrin was killed before the aircraft crashed and none of them saw him bail out.
His death was confirmed shortly after the crash, but there was no record of his burial location.
After the war, the American Graves Registration Command investigated around Rommelhausen and Langenbergheim, but couldn’t find any concrete evidence linking recovered remains with Uhrin. He was declared nonrecoverable in April 1955.
DPAA historians who are focused on air losses over Germany later located a set of remains that they said had a strong chance of being Uhrin’s. The remains — which were buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery in Belgium — were disinterred in June 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.
DPAA scientists used dental and anthropological analysis to identify Uhrin's remains, as well as circumstantial evidence, while scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System performed DNA testing. He was accounted for in May, but his family only recently received their full briefing on the case.
Uhrin’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in the United Kingdom, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, officials said.
Uhrin will be buried in Metuchen, though a date hasn't been determined.