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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, killed during the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. Thomas C. Stagg, 21, of Jefferson, Alabama, will be buried May 29 in Birmingham, Alabama. On Nov. 29, 1950, Stagg was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, on a reconnaissance patrol. The patrol encountered an enemy ambush near Hajoyang-ni, North Korea. During the battle, Stagg was killed in action and his body could not be recovered.
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. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicate that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Stagg was believed to have died.
To identify Stagg’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched a niece and nephew, as well as anthropological analysis and dental analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,747 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.