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 Master Sgt. Finley J. Davis, 39, of Pittsburgh, accounted for on Aug. 8, 2017, will be buried April 19 in North Charleston, South Carolina. In late 1950, Davis was a member of Company D, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when his unit was fighting off persistent Chinese attacks in the Ch’ongch’on River area in northwest North Korea. The battle began on Nov. 25, 1950, when the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) initiated an offensive along the 8th Army front. All 8th Army units were ordered to withdraw on November 29. Davis’ battalion was assigned to provide security for the division. The unit was attacked again by the CPVF and Davis was reported missing in action as of Dec. 1, 1950.
Several repatriated American prisoners of war reported that Davis died Camp 5.
Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service planned 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, Davis’ remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable. A set of remains marked as X-14024 were processed for identification, but an association could not be made and they were returned to the United States for burial.
After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, DPAA requested the exhumation of 22 unresolved individuals, including Davis. Unknown X-14024 was disinterred from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, known as the Punchbowl, on June 17, 2014 and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,704 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. Davis’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, 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.