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Cpl. George H. Mason (Photo by Mason Family)
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 Cpl. George H. Mason, 19, of Byhalia, Miss., will be buried Oct. 20, in his hometown. In early February 1951, Mason was assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Infantry Division, and was deployed near Chuam-ni, South Korea, when their defensive line was attacked by Chinese forces. This attack forced the unit to withdraw south to a more defensible position. Mason was reported as missing in action Feb. 14, 1951.
On June 22, 1951, the People’s Republic of China announced in a radio broadcast that Mason had been captured by enemy forces.
In 1953, during the prisoner of war exchanges historically known as “Operation Little Switch” and “Operation Big Switch,” returning U.S. soldiers who had been held as prisoners of war did not have any information concerning Mason. When no further evidence supporting his capture was available, a military review board amended his status to presumed dead.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled human remains to the United States, 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 indicate that some of the remains were recovered from the area where men captured from Mason’s unit were believed to have died.
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.