An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
Official websites use .mil
website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
Skip to main content (Press Enter).
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Fulfilling Our Nation's Promise
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Recently Accounted For
World War II
World War II Summary
Battle of Tarawa
Attack on Pearl Harbor
Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII
Korean War Summary
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Battle of Unsan
Korean Air Battles
The Inchon Campaign
The Pusan Perimeter
The DMZ Campaigns
Korean War Disinterments
Korean War POW/MIA List
Vietnam War Summary
Vietnam War Identification Project
Battle of Khe Sanh
Battle of Ia Drang
Vietnam War POW/MIA List
Iraq & Other Conflicts
Searchable List of the Missing
Searchable Map of the Missing
News & Stories
Recent News & Stories
Year In Review
AFMES DNA Laboratory
Publicly Released Documents
Family/VSO Update Notes
Family Member Guide
POW/MIA Day Toolkit
Report a Site
Donate to the Mission
| Aug. 26, 2019
Soldier Accounted For From Korean War (Cates, J.)
WASHINGTON – The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Master Sgt. James G. Cates, 29, of Philadelphia, Mississippi, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on May 31, 2019.
(This identification was initially published June 4, 2019.)
In late November 1950, Cates was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 31st 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. The American forces withdrew south with the Chinese attacks continuing. By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 wounded service members; the remaining Soldiers had been either captured, killed or went missing in enemy territory. Because Cates could not be accounted for by his unit at the end of the battle, he was reported missing in action as of Dec. 3, 1950.
In September 1954, as part of Operation Glory, where the United Nations Command, Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces and Korean People’s Army exchanged war dead at Munsan-ni, South Korea, the United Nations received 25 sets of remains reported to have been recovered from isolated burial sites east of the Chosin Reservoir. The remains were sent to the Central Identification Unit for attempted identification. One set, designated X-15903 was declared unidentifiable. They were then transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP,) known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu and were interred as Unknown.
In February 2013, following thorough historical and scientific analysis, X-15903 was disinterred from the Punchbowl and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Cates’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,631 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by Korean officials, recovered from Korea by American recovery teams or disinterred from unknown graves. Cates’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl along with 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 Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
Cates will be buried Sept. 21, 2019, in Chunchala, Alabama.
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.
Cates’ personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000DtbUDEAZ