Army Cpl. Freddie L. Henson, 19, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, will be buried May 4 in Houston. In late November 1950, Henson was a member of Battery A, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was engaged by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. By Dec. 5, only 385 of the approximately 3,200 Americans and South Koreans assigned to the 31st RCT were still fit for duty. As the 57th FA BN accounted for its men from the battles, Henson was reported missing as of Dec. 6.
Henson’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists and no repatriated Americans were able to provide any information concerning Henson as a prisoner of war. Due to the prolonged lack of evidence, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Dec. 31, 1953.
Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hoped to recover American remains that remained north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Colley’s remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable.
During the 36th Joint Recovery Operation in 2004, recovery teams conducted operations on the eastern bank of the Chosin Reservoir, Changjin County, North Korea, based on information provided a Korean witness. The site was in the vicinity of Twikkae Village. During the excavation, the recovery team recovered possible human remains of at least five individuals.
To identify Henson’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and Y chromosome (Y-STR) DNA analysis, which matched a brother and a sister, as well as circumstantial and anthropological evidence, which matched his records.
Today, 7,751 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in 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, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.