The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Cpl. David N. Defibaugh, 18, of Duncansville, Pennsylvania, who was killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Aug. 15, 2022.
In July 1950, Defibaugh was a member of C Company, 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion, 24th Infantry Division. He went missing in action after his unit was forced to retreat from the vicinity of Taejon, South Korea, on July 20. Due to the fighting, his body could not be recovered at that time, and there was never any evidence that he was a prisoner of war. The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953.
After regaining control of Taejon in the fall of 1950, the Army began recovering remains from the area and temporarily interring them at the United Nations Military Cemetery (UNMC) Taejon. One set of remains recovered during this period was designated Unknown X-12 Taejon. After extensive analysis by the Central Identification Unit-Kokura in Japan was unable to identify X-12, the remains were declared unidentifiable. They were later sent to Hawaii where they were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, with other Korean War Unknowns.
In July 2018, the DPAA proposed a plan to disinter 652 Korean War Unknowns from the Punchbowl. On June 10, 2019, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-12 as part of Phase Two of the Korean War Disinterment Project and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.
To identify Defibaugh’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.
Defibaugh’s 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.
Defibaugh will be buried Nov. 4, 2022, in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
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 Accounting page on the DPAA website at: https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaFamWebKorean.
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.
Defibaugh’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000iGIFVEA4.