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. Leroy W. Bryant, 22, of Autreyville, Georgia, will be buried March 9, in Columbus, Ohio. In early February 1951, Bryant was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, as U.S. Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) and United Nations Command (UNC) forces were deployed in defensive positions across the South Korean peninsula. On February 6, Bryant’s regiment was located in the town of Yonghyon-ni, and was tasked to determine location, position and strength of enemy forces. Enemy forces attacked, forcing them to withdraw to new positions. Because Bryant could not be accounted for by his unit after the attack, he was reported missing action as of Feb. 6, 1951, near Yanghyon-ni, South Korea.
Throughout the war, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) and Korean People’s Army (KPA) provided lists of American servicemen held in their custody. Bryant’s name appeared on a list of Americans who died while in custody of communist forces, informally known as the “Christmas List.” However, there was no way to confirm this report and Bryant’s status remained listed as missing in action.
Following the war, a returning prisoner from Bryant’s regiment reported that friends told him Bryant died while being marched north to prisoner of war Camp 1, located along the Yalu River, near the village of Changsong. Based on this information, the U.S. Army amended his status to deceased.
From August to November 1954, the United Nations, Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) and North Korea exchanged war dead at Munsan-ni, South Korea. On Sept. 7, 1954, a set of remains reportedly recovered from a prisoner of war cemetery at Camp 1 and 3, Changsong, North Korea, were sent to the Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan, for attempted identification. The set of remains was designated “X-14155” and was transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu and interred as a Korean War Unknown.
After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-14155 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-14155 was disinterred on Jan. 9, 2017, and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Bryant’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,709 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. Bryant’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from WWII. 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.