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 Pfc. Mathis O. Ball, Jr., 20, of Collin County, Texas, accounted for Aug. 14, 2018, will be buried November 18 in Bokchito, Oklahoma. In July 1950, Ball was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, engaged in combat operations against North Korean forces near Choch’iwon, South Korea. Ball could not be accounted-for and was declared missing in action on July 12, 1950.
In December 1953, based on a lack of information regarding his status, Ball was declared deceased. In January 1956, he was declared non-recoverable.
On Oct. 4, 1950, a set of unidentified remains was recovered from an isolated grave in the vicinity of Choch’iwon, South Korea, in an area corresponding to where Ball’s unit engaged in battle. The remains, designated X-91, were processed for identification, but a match could not be made. The remains were interred in American Cemetery No. 1, later renamed to United Nations Military Cemetery Taejon.
From October 1950 to September 1951, the American Graves Registration Service attempted to associate Unknown X-91 with a U.S. Soldier. When a possible association could not be made, the remains were declared unidentifiable and X-91 was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu as an Unknown.
On Oct. 2 2017, Unknown X-91 was disinterred from the Punchbowl and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Ball’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and circumstantial 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. Ball’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.
Ball’s personnel profile can be viewed at