The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, was returned to his family and buried with full military honors.
Army Sgt. Gerald J. Mueller, 20, of Saint Paul, Minnesota, buried November 8 in Fort Snelling, Minnesota. In February 1951, Mueller was a member of Battery D, 82nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Automatic Weapons,) 2nd Infantry Division, which was part of a group known as Support Force 21 (SF21,) providing artillery support for the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF.) On Feb. 11, 1941, while the ROKA was making an attack north toward Hongch’on, the CPVF launched a massive counter-offensive. Unable to withstand the numbers, the ROKA withdrew south, leaving Mueller’s battery and the rest of SF21 behind to fight cut off from other friendly units. The following day, SF21 began movement south, fighting through ambushes and roadblocks, eventually making it to Wonju. Mueller, who could not be accounted for, was declared missing in action as of Feb. 13, 1951.
A returning American prisoner of war reported that Mueller had been captured and marched to Suan Bean Camp. Reportedly, he was left behind when other prisoners were marched to Camp 1 in April 1951. A list provided by the CPVF and Korean People’s Army (KPA,) reported Mueller died while in their custody.
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. On In May 1992, they turned over remains from an area associated with the Suan Bean Camp.
To identify Mueller’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,716 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. Mueller’s 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.