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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, were recently identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. Weldon A. Davis, 24, of Tioga, Texas, will be buried Feb. 6, in Dallas. In late November 1950, elements of the 2nd Infantry Division (ID) were engaged in fighting with units of the Chinese army south of the Ch’ongch’on River in North Korea. In the course of the fighting, and the subsequent withdrawal by U.S. forces, the 2nd ID suffered extensive casualties, with numerous men being taken captive by the Chinese. Davis was last seen in the vicinity of Somindong.
In 1953, as part of Operation Big Switch, soldiers who were returned told debriefers that Davis had been captured and taken by enemy forces to a POW camp known as Death Valley. Soldiers also stated that in January 1951, Davis died from malnutrition and pneumonia. His remains were not among those returned by Communist Forces in 1954.
In 2005, a joint U.S. and Democratic People's Republic Korea (D.P.R.K) team excavated a secondary burial in Unsan County in North Korea and found remains. The remains subsequently were repatriated to the U.S.
To identify the 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 such as dental comparisons, which matched Davis’ records.
Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the Korean War. Identifications continue to be made from the remains that were returned to the United States, using forensic and DNA technology.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.