The U.S. military has finally accounted for the remains of a Georgia soldier who fought with a famed U.S. jungle fighting unit during a secret mission in Southeast Asia during World War II.
Pfc. Hulett A. Thompson, 23, of Carrollton was among 3,000 troops who volunteered for the perilous assignment with “Merrill’s Marauders,” the nickname given to the unit commanded by Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill. A film about the unit starring Jeff Chandler was released in 1962.
Officially designated the 5307th Composite Unit Provisional, the troops participated in five major battles and 30 minor engagements in Burma, now known as Myanmar. They defeated the much larger elite Japanese division to accomplish their mission in 1944, capturing North Burma’s only all-weather Myitkyina airstrip.
Thompson was reportedly killed in action. His unidentified remains were buried in Burma, then eventually transferred to a cemetery in India and then to Hawaii. To identify them, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used dental and anthropological analysis as well as circumstantial evidence. The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System performed DNA analysis.
Thompson’s remains were identified in late May. The POW/MIA agency detailed its finding in a press release Monday.
There are 72,698 U.S. service members still unaccounted for from WWII. Of the 16 million Americans who served, more than 400,000 died during the war.
Thompson will be buried in his hometown Nov. 30.