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. Joe S. Elmore, 20, of Seminary, Kentucky, accounted for on July 3, will be buried August 18 in Albany, Kentucky. In late November, 1950, Elmore was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. As the Chinese attacks continued, American forces withdrew south. By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured, killed or missing in enemy territory. Because Elmore could not be accounted for by his unit, he was reported missing in action as of Dec. 2, 1950.
Elmore’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists and no returning Americans reported him as a prisoner of war. Due to the prolonged lack of evidence, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of May 1, 1953.
On Oct. 19, 1995, during a United Nations Command/Korean People’s Army meeting at Panmunjom, the KPA offered to repatriate the remains of a British soldier killed during the Korean War. The KPA identified the remains to be Pvt. J. Edmunds, who was reportedly found by a KPA work crew in July 1995, near Wangsan, Rimkangni, Kaesong City. The remains were handed over on Oct. 30, 1995, and the British government asked DPAA’s predecessors to identify the remains.
On Feb. 28, 1996, the remains were declared unidentifiable.
On Sept. 1, 1997, the British Army Headquarters Adjutant General, Personnel and Training Command, sent a request to the Adjutant General, U.S. Army Personnel Command, requesting the remains be returned for burial in Busan, South Korea, during the visit of the British Korean Veterans Association to Korea in April 1998. The remains were transferred to the custody of British authorities and were buried in a grave marked as “British Unknown.”
Following the institution of the Korean War Project, DPAA was able to associate the unknown remains with two missing U.S. service members.
In November 2017, the remains were disinterred by the 8th Army Mortuary, U.S. Forces Korea and transported to DPAA.
To identify Elmore’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and autosomal (auSTR) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the British government and military authorities and South Korean government for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,691 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. Elmore’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing 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) 699-1420/1169.
Elmore’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000RlYQJEA3