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.
Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class William G. Payne, 41, of Springfield, Missouri, accounted for on Aug. 9, 2017, will be buried May 11 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In late November 1950, Payne was a medical specialist assigned to the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, fighting against repeat Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) attacks in the area surrounding Yudam-ni, North Korea. Payne was killed during the fighting on Dec. 1, 1950 and was reportedly buried in a temporary cemetery at Yudam-ni.
Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service planned to recover American remains that had been north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. One set of remains, marked “Unknown 409,” was recovered from a temporary cemetery near Yudam-ni. After attempts at identification proved inconclusive, the remains were and interred as “Unknown X-13409” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
After a thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-13409 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-13409 was disinterred on May 8, 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Payne’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,704 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. Payne’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, 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.