The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. Richard A. Lucas, 17, of Monmouth, New Jersey, will be buried November 2 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In late November 1950, Lucas was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, which was located in defensive positions in the area of the Chongchon River, northeast of Kujang, North Korea. The unit was tasked with engaging enemy forces in the area, then move north past the main line of resistance. On Nov. 25, 1950, enemy forces launched a large-scale attack against the regiment. Intense fighting isolated the battalion from the rest of the regiment. As the battalion accounted for its personnel, Lucas was reported missing in action as of Nov. 26, 1950, near Kunu-ri, North Korea.
During the war, Lucas was not listed on any Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) or [North] Korean People’s Army (KPA) Prisoners of War (POWs) lists. Additionally, no returning American prisoners in 1953 provided any information on the status of Lucas, outside of an unconfirmed report of a “Luccas” of the 9th Infantry Regiment, who died in March 1951. Based on that information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Dec. 31, 1953. Later, another returned prisoner of war recalled a Richard Lucas who died en route to Pukchin-Tarigol.
In August and September 2002, a joint U.S. and KPA recovery team conducted a Joint Recovery Operation at a site in Unsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, which was reported by a local national to be a temporary prison camp. Remains were recovered and accessioned to the DPAA laboratory on Sept. 27, 2002.
To identify Lucas’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA),Y-chromosome (Y-STR) and autosomal (au-STR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,718 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. Lucas’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
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.