The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. Willie E. Blue, 19, of New Orleans, accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017, will be buried May 29 in Dallas, Texas. In August 1950, Blue was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, taking part in defending the Naktong Bulge portion of the Pusan Perimeter. He was reported missing in action as of Aug. 31, 1950, after his status could not be determined following his admittance to the 2nd Clearing Station, 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division in Yong-san, South Korea. No additional records showed his disposition, nor did the 8076th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) have records on Blue. With no additional information concerning his loss, the Department of the Army declared him deceased on March 3, 1954.
On Aug. 5, 1951, a search and recovery team from the 565th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company recovered a single set of remains near Tongjong-ni, South Korea. The remains were designated “Unknown X-1664” and transferred to the Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan. The remains were deemed unidentifiable and were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
After a thorough historical and scientific analysis of information associated with X-1664 it was determined that the remains could likely be identified. After receipt of approval, the remains were disinterred from the Punchbowl on Aug. 14, 2017, and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Blue’s remains, scientists from DPAA dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their assistance in this recovery.
Today, 7,702 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Blue’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, 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) 699-1420/1169.