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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 Cpl. George A. Perreault, 20, of Burlington, Vermont, will be buried May 13 in his hometown. On Feb. 5, 1951, Perreault was a part of Support Force 21 and assigned to Headquarters Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was supporting Republic of Korean Army (ROKA) attacks against units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the area known as the Central Corridor in South Korea. On the evening of February 11, the CPVF launched a massive counterattack against the ROKA regiment. The ROKA withdrew, leaving American units to fight alone at Changbong-ni, until they were forced to withdraw too. After enduring a sustained enemy attack, the Support Force abandoned Hoengsong and moved toward Wonju. Perreault never reported to Wonju and he was reported missing in action on Feb. 13, 1951.
A list provided by the CPVF and Korean People’s Army on Dec. 26, 1951 stated that Perreault died as a prisoner of war, though the information could not be confirmed. Additionally, no returning American prisoners of war immediately following the 1953 Operation Big Switch debriefings could provide any information on him. Based on the lack of information of his status, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Jan. 18, 1954.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which when combined with remains recovered during joint recovery operations in North Korea, account for the remains of at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area where Perreault was believed to have died.
To identify Perreault’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched a sister and two nieces; as well as anthropological analysis, which matched his records; and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,751 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.