The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. William C. McDowell, 20, of Stuttgart, Arkansas, accounted for on January 10, will be buried April 4 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In late November, 1950, McDowell was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 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 attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. As the Chinese attacks continued, American forces withdrew south. By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured, killed or missing in enemy territory. Because McDowell could not be accounted for by his unit at the end of the battle, he was reported missing in action as of Dec. 2, 1950.
McDowell’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists and no returning Americans reported McDowell as a prisoner of war. Due to the prolonged lack of evidence, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of March 15, 1954.
On Dec. 1, 1994, North Korea unilaterally turned over 33 boxes of remains, which were purportedly recovered from Hwangcho-ri, Changjin County, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea. The remains were accessioned to the Central Identification Laboratory, a predecessor to DPAA, in Hawaii.
To identify McDowell’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and material evidence.
Today, 7,709 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. McDowell’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
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.