The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. James C. Williams, 19, of Alton, Illinois, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on Dec. 20, 2018.
On July 20, 1950, Williams was a member of Medical Company, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, when he was killed in action near Taejon, South Korea. Multiple eye witnesses stated that Williams was killed while trying to transport patients from the Taejon Air Strip. Fellow Soldiers returned Williams’ remains to the collection point, however the 34th Infantry Regiment’s Medical Company was ordered to withdraw, and during the hasty withdrawal, his remains and those of numerous service members were left behind. Despite multiple attempts to recover Williams’ remains, he was declared non-recoverable on Jan. 16, 1956.
A set of remains, designated Unknown X-218 Taejon, was recovered from the vicinity of Taejon, along with the remains of three other individuals who were later identified as members of either the 34th Infantry Regiment or 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. Unknown X-218 Taejon could not be identified and was interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
On March 12, 2018, Unknown X-218 Taejon was disinterred from the Punchbowl and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Williams’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,666 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 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 family contact information, contact the Army Service Casualty office at (800) 892-2490.
Williams will be buried July 19, 2019, in West Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
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.