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.
Army Sgt. Ervin A. Fricke, of Oakville, Wash., will be buried Feb. 26, in Portland, Ore. In late November 1950, Fricke and elements of the 9th Infantry Regimental (IR) were deployed north of the North Korean town of Kujang, astride the Ch’ongch’on River. On Nov. 25, 1950, the Chinese Army attacked causing the 9th IR to withdraw south to a more defensible position. During this attack the unit sustained heavy causalities. After the battle, Fricke was reported missing in action.
In late April 1999, a joint U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (D.P.R.K.) team excavated a site in an agricultural field on the north bank of the Ch’ongch’on River. During this operation the team found remains that were later identified as Fricke.
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 Fricke’s sister and niece.
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) 699-11420.