News Releases

Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For (Worley)

15-068 | October 30, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Frank Worley, 21, of Wilmington, N.C., will be buried Nov. 6 in Salisbury, N.C. On Feb. 11, 1951, Worley and elements of Battery A, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division (ID), were occupying a position in the vicinity of Hoengsong, South Korea, when their unit was overwhelmed by Chinese forces. This attack caused the 2nd ID to withdraw south to a more defensible position. Worley was reported missing after the attack.

In 1953, during the prisoner of war exchanges historically known as “Operation Little Switch” and “Operation Big Switch,” returning American soldiers did not have any information concerning Worley. A military review board amended his status to deceased in March 1954. Worley’s remains were also not among those returned by communist forces during “Operation Glory” in 1954.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which we now believe contain the remains of at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where men captured from Worley’s unit were believed to have died.

In the identification of Worley’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, dental comparison, and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA analysis and Y-chromosome short tandem repeat DNA analysis, which matched his brothers.

Today, more than 7,800 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 www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.