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. Kenneth B. Williams, 38, of Akron, Ohio, accounted for on Aug. 13, 2018, will be buried October 22 in Seville, Ohio. In late November 1950, Williams was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 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. Williams was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, after he was last seen near the Chosin Reservoir.
Williams’ name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists, however returning Americans reported Williams died as a prisoner of war. Based on this information, he was declared deceased as of Jan. 31, 1951.
On Nov. 30, 1993, North Korea turned over 33 boxes, believed to hold the remains of unaccounted-for U.S. servicemen from the Korean War. The reported recovery location of one of the boxes was in Kaljoh-ri, Changjin County, South Hamyong Province, North Korea, near where Williams was last seen.
To identify Williams’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to the government and people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and looks forward to the continued fulfillment of the commitment made by President Trump and Chairman Kim on the return and recovery of U.S. service members in North Korea.
Today, 7,677 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. Williams’ 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.
Williams’ personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000aq4djEAA