The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Leslie R. Sutton, 24, of Rochelle, Georgia, will be buried June 24 in his hometown. In late October 1950, Sutton was a member of Battery C, 99th Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, when his unit received orders to take over positions occupied by the 11th and 12th Republic of Korea Army Regiments in the northwest region of North Korea, in the vicinity of Unsan. Within hours of establishing the command post, elements of the supported unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, encountered heavy fighting with the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF). In danger of being overwhelmed by the CPVF, the regiment received an order to withdraw southeast of Unsan, Nov. 1, 1950. Many of the men were captured or killed by the CPVF, and after several days of searching adjacent units and hospitals, Sutton was reported missing in action as of Nov. 2, 1950.
During the war, Sutton was not listed on any CPVF or [North] Korean People’s Army (KPA) Prisoners of War (POWs) lists. Additionally, no returning American prisoners reported his capture. Based on that information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Dec. 31, 1953.
In July 2000, a joint U.S. and KPA recovery team conducted a Joint Recovery Operation at a site near Hwaong-ri Village, Unsan County, North Korea, based on information provided by a North Korean Witness. During the excavation, the team recovered military equipment, personal effects, and human remains. The remains were accessioned to the DPAA laboratory on July 24, 2000.
To identify Sutton’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA), Y-chromosome (Y-STR) and autosomal (au-STR) DNA analysis, which matched a brother, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,745 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea 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, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.