The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, killed during the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. David T. Nordin, Jr., 23, of Los Angeles, will be buried Dec. 16 in Kent, Washington. In late November 1950, Nordin was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, when his unit began to move north along the west side of the Kuryong River to establish a position southwest of the town of Unsan as part of a large United Nations Command offensive. The Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) launched a counterattack, and the regiment was ordered to withdraw to a new defensive line. When the unit reassembled near Yongbyon, Nordin could not be accounted for and was reported missing in action, Nov. 28, 1950.
The CPVF and North Korean People’s Army provided lists of prisoners of war during the war, and Nordin’s name was listed as having died while in custody of the CPVF. At the end of the war, repatriated Americans reported that Nordin died at Hofong Camp in January 1951. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared Nordin deceased as of January 22, 1951.
Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hoped 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, Nordin’s remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable.
In April and May of 2005, a Joint Recovery Team conducted the 37th Joint Field Activity in Unsan County, South Pyongan Province, North Korea. On April 19, the team visited a site reported by a local witness to contain American remains.
To identify Nordin’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used circumstantial and anthropological evidence, as well as DNA analysis; including mitochondrial DNA, which matched a brother and two sisters.
Today, 7,778 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American 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.