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News Release

Press Release | Feb. 7, 2013

Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Archer)

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 Cpl. Robert G. Archer, 19, of Brazil, Ind., will be buried Feb. 8, in his hometown. In late November 1950, elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT) were engaged in fighting with enemy forces east of the Chosin Resevoir in North Korea. On Nov. 29, 1950, servicemen of the 31st RCT began to withdraw to a more-defensible position near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. During this withdrawal, Archer was reported missing in action.

In 1953, as part of Operation Big Switch, soldiers who were returned told debriefers that Archer had been captured and taken by enemy forces to a POW camp known as Death Valley. Soldiers also stated that in December 1950, Archer died from malnutrition and lack of medical care. 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 sites believed to be associated with American losses during the Korean War 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 mitochondrial DNA–which matched Archer’s brother –and dental comparisons.

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 or call (703) 699-1420.