The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Marine Cpl. William S. Blasdel, 26, of Freeport, Ill., was buried June 9, 2014, in National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In November 1950, Blasdel was assigned to Company H, 3rd Battalion, 11th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, when his unit was deployed south of the North Korean village of Yudam-ni on the western bank of the Chosin Reservoir. On November 28, Blasdel was in his forward observer position near Fox Hill, when his position was struck by enemy mortar rounds. It was during these attacks that his unit was overwhelmed and began a fighting withdrawal south. Blasdel was presumed to have been killed in action during the attacks.
In late 1954, Chinese forces repatriated unknown remains they claimed to have recovered from Blasdel’s last known location.
A military review board in December 1955, declared the remains as unidentifiable and the remains were transferred to Hawaii to be buried as unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2013, due to advances in forensic science technology, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) determined that the possibility of identifying the remains now existed. The unknown remains were disinterred for analysis and possible identification.
In the identification of Blasdel, scientists from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, to include dental comparison and radiograph comparisons, which matched his records.
Today, 7,860 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American teams.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.