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 Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Cummings, 20, of Manistique, Michigan, will be buried March 4 in Clarksville, Tennessee. In late November, 1950, after several months of battle alongside the United Nations Command and Republic of Korea against the Korean People’s Army, an estimated 300,000 soldiers of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces attacked the unit during an allied movement north near the Yalu River. Facing constrictive terrain, poor weather conditions and being outnumbered, the advancing U.S. forces were facing unfavorable circumstances. The 187th regiment was moved to positions along the Chongchon and Kuryong rivers in order to preserve lines of communication. The regiment assembled a reconnaissance patrol to gather enemy information on Nov. 29, 1950, when it encountered an enemy ambush near Hajoyang, North Korea. Following this ambush, Cummings was declared missing in action.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled human remains to the United States, which we believe to contain the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicate that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Cummings was believed to have died.
In the identification of Cummings’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, dental comparison, and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA analysis, Y-chromosome short tandem repeat DNA analysis and autosomal (nuclear) DNA testing, which matched a sister and a brother.
Today, 7,762 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.