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.
Army Cpl. Cristobal Romo, 19, of San Diego, will be buried March 22, in Riverside, Calif. In November 1950, Romo was a member of Company L, 31st Infantry Regiment, operating along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. From Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces overran U.S. positions and U.S. troops were forced to withdraw south along Route 5 to more defensible positions. Following the battle, Romo was one of many men reported missing in action.
In September 2004, a joint U.S./Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (D.P.R.K.) team excavated a site south of the Pungnyuri-gang inlet of the Chosin Reservoir, and recovered human remains. The remains were sent to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) for analysis.
From 2005 to 2012, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) continued to conduct DNA analysis on recovered remains in the vicinity of Romo’s loss. As technology advanced they were able to identify Romo.
To identify Romo’s remains, scientists from JPAC and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA that matched Romo’s sister and nephew, and autosomal DNA that also matched his sister.
Today, 7,889 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.