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. Joseph N. Pelletier, 20, of Berlin, New Hampshire, will be buried March 28 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In early February 1951, Pelletier was a member of Headquarters Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when his unit began supporting Republic of Korea (ROK) Army attacks against units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in an area known as the Central Corridor in North Korea. On February 11, the CPVF launched a massive counterattack against the ROK regiment causing them to withdraw, leaving the American units to fight the CPVF at Changbong-ni. The CPVF attacked the Americans on February 12, causing them to withdraw south to Hoengsong. They eventually moved to Wonju, but Pelletier never reported in. The U.S. Army declared him missing in action as of Feb. 13, 1951.
Pelletier's name appeared on a list provided by the CPVF and Korean People's Army as a prisoner of war and returning American prisoners of war reported that Pelletier had been a prisoner and died sometime in April 1951 at the "Bean Camp." Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of April 30, 1951.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled human remains to the United States, which we determined to contain the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. On May 13, 1992, they turned over 15 boxes of remains. These remains were reportedly recovered from Namjong-gu, Suan County, North Hwanghae Province, where Pelletier was believed to have died.
To identify Pelletier’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA),Y chromosome (Y-STR) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched three brothers; as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records; and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,757 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.