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. Leonard V. Purkapile, 26, of Potosi, Wisconsin, accounted for on February 12, will be buried April 26, in Lancaster, Wisconsin. In late November 1950, Purkapile was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, engaged in combat operations against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the vicinity of Unsan, while withdrawing southeast to Yongbyon, North Korea. Following the battle, Purkapile could not be accounted for and he was reported as missing in action on Nov. 28, 1950. By the end of the war, his status was changed to deceased and his remains deemed non-recoverable.
On November 30, 1993, North Korea unilaterally turned over 33 boxes containing remains believed to be U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War. The remains in one box were reportedly recovered in the vicinity of Okchang-ri, Nyongbyon County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, which was less than three kilometers from where Purkapile was last seen.
To identify Purkapile’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.
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. Purkapile’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific 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) 699-1420/1169.