The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced 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 Pvt. Charles G. Kaniatobe, 21, of Idabel, Oklahoma, accounted for Sept. 13, 2018, will be buried November 17 in his hometown. In July 1950, Kaniatobe was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, engaged in combat operations against the North Korean People’s Army near Chonui, South Korea. Kaniatobe could not be accounted-for and was declared missing in action on July 10, 1950.
In December 1953, based on a lack of information regarding his status, Kaniatobe was declared deceased. In January 1956, he was declared non-recoverable. No list provided by the Chinese or North Koreans reported Kaniatobe as a POW, and no returning American POWs reported him as a POW.
In early October 1950, a Graves Registration Team attached to Kaniatobe’s regiment recovered the remains of 164 Americans from the area between Chonui and Choch’iown. On Oct. 6, 1950, a set of unidentified remains, designated Unknown X-173 and recovered in the vicinity of Choch’iwon were interred by the U.S. Army in present-day United Nations Military Cemetery Taejou.
In March 1952, Unknown X-173 was exhumed and transferred to the U.S. Army Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan for identification. When an identification could not be made, the remains were reburied as Unknown X-173 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Hawaii.
On Oct. 16 2017, Unknown X-173 was disinterred from the Punchbowl and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Kaniatobe’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,676 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. Kaniatobe’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) 699-1420/1169.
Kaniatobe’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000jq90LEAQ