The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. William W. Cowan, 19, of White House, Tennessee, will be buried Nov. 19 in Fredonia, Ohio. On February 12, 1951, Cowan was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action. The unit was attacking a road block set up by opposing forces near Hoengsong, South Korea, when he was declared missing.
While the American Graves Registration Service attempted to account for losses suffered by this unit, a search in the area yielded no results for Cowan. A repatriated prisoner of war reported that Cowan died at prisoner of war Camp 1, Changsong, North Korea, in May 1951. Based on this information, as well as details provided in a propaganda broadcast by the Chinese Communist Forces, the U.S. Army declared Cowan deceased.
On Sept. 7, 1954, a set of remains reportedly recovered from the prisoner of war cemetery at Camps 1 and 3, Chang Song, North Korea, were sent to the Central Identification Unit for attempted identification. The set of remains designated X-14230 were declared unidentifiable and transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
On June 13, 2016, the remains designated as X-14230 were exhumed and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Cowan’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, chest radiograph comparison and anthropological analyses, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,783 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.