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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, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Cpl. James R. Hare, 19, of Cumberland, Md., will be buried Feb. 13, in Levels, W.Va. In February 1951, Hare and elements of the 2nd Infantry Division (ID) were supporting Republic of South Korea forces near the South Korean town of Hoengsong when Chinese forces launched a massive counter attack. During these attacks, U.S. and Korean forces were forced to retreat south. Over the next few days units of the 2nd ID were attacked again suffering more than 200 casualties including more than 100 servicemen being captured by enemy forces. Hare was reported as missing in action on Feb. 13, 1951.
In September 1953, during a prisoner exchange between U.S. and communist forces, a returning U.S. soldier told debriefers that Hare was captured by enemy forces and taken to a POW camp in Suan County on Feb. 13, 1951. The soldier also stated that Hare died from malnutrition in April of that year. His remains were not among those returned by communist forces during Operation Glory in 1954.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. service members. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the human remains were recovered from the area where Hare was last seen.
In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, compiled by DPMO and JPAC researchers, and forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA–which matched Hare’s brother and sister.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials. Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
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.