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 Pfc. James R. Holmes, 18, of Warren, Ohio, will be buried May 29, in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C. In November 1950, Holmes was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, which was pushing north through North Korea to the Yalu River. In late November the unit was attacked by enemy forces and withdrew south to the town of Anju. On December 1, Holmes was declared missing in action.
As part of a 1953 prisoner exchange known as Operation Big Switch, returning U.S. service members reported that Holmes had been captured by the Chinese during that battle and died in 1951, in prisoner of war camp known as Camp 5, near Pyoktong, North Korea.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain 350 - 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents turned over with some of the boxes indicated that some of the remains were recovered from Pyoktong County, near the area where Holmes was believed to have died.
To identify Holmes’ remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and brother.
Today, 7,883 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 Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.