The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Cpl. Paul W. Wilkins, 19, of Bellwood, Pennsylvania, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Oct. 30, 2020.
In July 1950, Wilkins was a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on July 11 when his unit was fighting enemy forces near Choch’iwan, South Korea. He was never found, nor were any remains recovered that could be identified as Wilkins. The Army declared a presumptive finding of death for Wilkins on Dec. 31, 1953, and he was declared non-recoverable on Jan. 16, 1956.
On Oct. 4, 1950, U.S. forces buried an unidentified set of remains, designated Unknown X-113 Taejon, in United Nations Military Cemetery Taejon. There was no record or information as to the recovery location or identity of these remains. After multiple attempts to identify X-113, the remains were deemed unidentifiable, and were sent to Hawaii where they were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl.
In July 2018, DPAA historians and anthropologists proposed a plan to disinter and identify the 652 Korean War unknown burials from the Punchbowl, including 53 recovered from the Taejon area. X-113 was disinterred July 1, 2019, as part of the Korean War Identification Project, and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
To identify Wilkins’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as chest radiograph comparison. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Wilkins’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Wilkins will be buried in his hometown. The date is yet to be determined.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
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) 699-1420/1193.
Wilkins’ personnel profile can be viewed at