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. Frank L. Sandoval, 20, of San Antonio, will be buried July 11in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In early February 1951, Sandoval was a member of Battery A, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when his unit, as well as other American units, were in operations supporting South Korean Army attacks against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPFV) in an area known as the Central Corridor in North Korea. The support group, known as Support Force 21 (SF21,) provided artillery fire support while located at Changbong-ni. On Feb. 11, 1951, the CPVF launched a massive counter offensive. The South Koreans withdrew, leaving SF21 in Changbong-ni. As the support group withdrew south toward Wonju, they endured continual attacks. Sandoval was reported missing in action on Feb. 13, 1951, when he did not arrive with the unit in Wonju.
Several returning American prisoners of war reported that Sandoval had been captured by the CPVF and had died in July 1951 while being held at Camp 3, a prisoner of war camp near Changsong, North Korea. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased on July 7, 1951.
In 1954, United Nations and communist forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what came to be called “Operation Glory.” All remains recovered in Operation Glory were turned over to the Army’s Central Identification Unit for analysis. The unidentified remains were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.” One set of remains was designated “Unknown X-14211.”
After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-14211 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-14211 was disinterred on Jan. 9, 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Sandoval’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, all which matched Sandoval’s records; as well as circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,741 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.