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Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Accounting for the Missing

On Memorial Day, it is worth remembering that the government is still identifying remains from past wars.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency seeks to account for the 83,000 missing personnel from past conflicts: World War II (WWII), the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and other recent conflicts. Our research and operational missions include coordination with hundreds of countries and municipalities around the world.

A May 22 release:
The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. soldier, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Richard L. Wing, 19, of Toledo, Ohio, will be buried June 5, in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. In late November 1950, Wing was assigned to Company H, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, which was deployed north and southeast of the town of Kunu-ri, North Korea, when their defensive line was attacked by Chinese forces, forcing the unit to withdraw south to a more defensible position, near the town of Sunchon. Before they could disengage, the 1st Cavalry Division was forced to fight through a series of Chinese roadblocks, commonly known as the Gauntlet. Wing was reported missing in action after the battle.
In 1953, returning American soldiers who had been held as prisoners of war reported that Wing had been captured by Chinese forces in November 1950 near Kunu-ri, and died of dysentery in a prisoner of war camp known as Camp 5 in Pyokdong, North Korea.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents, turned over at that time, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Wing was believed to have died.
 To identify Wing’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, to include two forms of DNA analysis; mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and brother and Y-STR DNA, which matched his brother.

Today, 7,852 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American recovery teams.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at  or call (703) 699-1420.