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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. Manuel M. Quintana, 19, of Klondyke, Arizona, will be buried May 19 in Boulder City, Nevada. In late July 1950, Quintana was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, when his unit was ordered to move toward Hadong. The regiment unexpectedly encountered enemy forces, who quickly overpowered the American forces. Following the battle, Quintana could not be accounted for and was declared missing in action as of July 27, 1950.
Following the war, no returning American prisoners of war were able to provide any information concerning Quintana’s status.
In December 1950, a set of unidentified remains was recovered from a grave near Chinuju-Hadong Highway. Those remains were buried in the Masan United Nations Military Cemetery as Unknown X-183. In 1951, the graves at Masan cemetery were exhumed and transferred to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Unit (CIU) in Kokura, Japan, for identification.
Several attempts were made to associate X-183 with unresolved casualties, however with limited technology the remains could be attributed to 41 possibilities. In September 1955 it was determined the remains were “unidentifiable” and were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In December 2014, a family member requested the disinterment of Unknown X-183 based on documents identifying another soldier with tentative association. In May 2016, the grave was exhumed and sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification.
To identify Quintana’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched a sister and nephew, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons.
Today, 7,751 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery 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.