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 Cpl. Roy J. Hopper, 21, of Miami, accounted for on June 23, 2017, will be buried April 6 in Dayton, Ohio. In July 1950, Hopper was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion 19th Infantry Regiment. He was reportedly killed in action on July 31, 1950, when his battalion, along with another battalion, was engaged in a fighting withdrawal against North Korean forces in Chinju, South Korea. The enemy had control of the area following the battle, preventing a search for his remains. After the battle Hopper’s remains were not identified.
In early 1951, the graves at Masan cemetery were exhumed and the unknowns were transferred to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification unit in Kokura, Japan. Remains that could not be identified were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, including “Unknown X-119.”
After thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-119 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-119 was disinterred on Jan. 9, 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Hopper’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his brother and sister, as well as dental and anthropological 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. Hopper’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, 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.