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 Sgt. Paul M. Gordon, 20, of Dry Ridge, Ky., will be buried June 20, in Williamstown, Ky. In 1951, Gordon was assigned to Company H, 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, deployed in the vicinity of Wonju, South Korea. On January 7, 1951, following a battle against enemy forces, Gordon was listed as missing in action.
In September 1953, as part of a prisoner exchange, known as Operation Big Switch, returning U.S. service members reported that Gordon had been captured by the Chinese during that battle and taken to a prisoner of war camp, where he died in June 1951.
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 a POW camp in North Hwanghae Province, near the area where Gordon was believed to have died.
To identify Gordon’s remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including DNA comparisons. Two types of DNA were used, mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and brother, and Y-STR DNA, which matched his 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 missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.