The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Cpl. Charles E. Lee, 18, of Cincinnati, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for June 14, 2021.
In July 1950, Lee was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on July 20 after his unit was forced to retreat from the vicinity of Taejon, South Korea. He was never found, nor were any remains recovered that could be identified as Lee. He was declared non-recoverable in January 1956.
Two sets of remains, designated Unknown X-781 and X-782 Tanggok, were recovered from a common grave near the Taejon-Kumchon main supply route a few miles east of Taejon in March 1951. X-782 was identified in February 1952, but X-781 was unable to be identified. The X-781 remains were later transported with all of the unidentified Korean War remains and buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
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-781 was disinterred July 15, 2019, as part of Phase 2 of the Korean War Identification Project, and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
To identify Lee’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Lee’s name is recorded on the American Battle Monument Commission’s 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.
Lee will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
To see the most up-to-date statistics on DPAA recovery efforts for those unaccounted for from the Korean War, go to the Korean War fact sheet on the DPAA website at: https://www.dpaa.mil/Resources/Fact-Sheets/Article-View/Article/569610/progress-on-korean-war-personnel-accounting/.
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 https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Lee’s personnel profile can be viewed at