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 Sgt. 1st Class Harry E. Harkness, 22, of Lansing, Michigan, will be buried March 17 in his hometown. On In November 1950, Harkness was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, participating in combat actions against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the vicinity of Unsan, North Korea. Harkness was reported missing in action as of Nov. 2, 1950 when he could not be accounted for by his unit.
Following the war, during an operation known as “Operation Big Switch,” when prisoners of war were returned, returning Americans from Pyoktong Camp 5 reported that Harkness had been captured and died while at POW Camp 5 sometime between January and April 1951.
On Dec. 21, 1993, North Korea unilaterally turned over 34 boxes containing remains reportedly to be unaccounted-for U.S. servicemen from the Korean War. One set of remains came from Tongju-ri, Pyokdong County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, which corresponds to the known location of POW Camp 5, where Harkness was believed to have died.
To identify Harkness’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as anthropological analysis which matched his records; and circumstantial evidence.
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. Harkness’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the other MIAs 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.