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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.
Marine 1st Lt. Raymond O. Ball, 31, of Fort Laramie, Wyo., was buried May 19, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C. In November 1950, Ball was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, when his unit was engaged by a much larger enemy force on the western bank of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. From Dec. 1-2, the Marine Division disengaged from the enemy and began a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position south, but not before sustaining heavy losses. On Nov. 27, 1950, Ball was killed in action in the vicinity of Hill 1282, while fighting on the western side of the Chosin Reservoir; however, his remains were not recovered after the battle.
In 1954, United Nations and Communist Forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what came to be called “Operation Glory.” All remains recovered in Operation Glory were turned over to the Army Central Identification Unit for analysis. The remains they were unable to identify were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2012, analysts from the Department of Defense reevaluated Ball’s records and determined that portions of the remains recovered from Operation Glory should be exhumed for identification.
To identify Ball’s remains, scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as radiograph comparison, which matched Ball’s records.
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 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.