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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. Luis P. Torres, 20, of Eagle Pass Texas, will be buried January 13 in San Antonio. On Sept. 1, 1950, Torres was member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when his battalion had its position overrun by enemy forces along the east bank of the Naktong River, South Korea. During this attack, Torres was reported missing in action near Changyong, South Korea.
Torres’ name did not appear on any prisoner of war list, but one returning American prisoner of war reported that he believed Torres was held captive by the enemy and was executed. Due to the prolonged lack of evidence, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of March 3, 1954.
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, Torres’ remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable.
On Dec. 20, 1950, a set of unidentified remains, previously recovered from a shallow grave near Changnyong, were buried in the Miryang United Nations Military Cemetery as “Unknown X-331.” In February 1951, the remains were moved to the Tanggok United Nations Military Cemetery. Although Torres was considered a candidate for identification, the remains were not identified due to a lack of substantiating evidence. The remains were then moved to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu and buried as Unknown.
On May 16, 2016, the remains were disinterred and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Torres’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and anthropological evidence, as well as DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA analysis through the Next Generation Sequencing technique, which matched a brother, a sister and a nephew.
Today, 7,764 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.