The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pvt. Robert J. Sipes, Jr., 19, of Irvington, Kentucky, accounted for on Oct. 23, 2018, will be buried December 5 in his hometown. In November 1950, Sipes was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950, during heavy fighting between the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) and the 7th Cavalry Regiment near the village of Unsan, North Korea. His remains were processed through a 7th Cavalry Regiment Collection Station on Dec. 1, 1950, and interred at the United Nations Military Cemetery (UNMC) Pyongyang, on Dec. 2, 1950.
On Aug. 17, 1954, the United Nations Command (UNC) and North Korea, along with the CPVF, reached an agreement regarding the recovery and return of war dead. The agreement, known as Operation Glory, resulted in the turnover of 4,200 sets of remains to the UNC, including more than 400 sets reportedly disinterred from Pyongyang. One set of remains, designated N-16678 could not be identified, and were subsequently interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu (known as the Punchbowl), as an Unknown.
In June 2017, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-16678 for identification.
To identify Sipes’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, dental, anthropological, and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,675 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. Sipes’ 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.
Sipes’ personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000bHtzjEAC