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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.
Army Sgt. William C. Knight, 20, of West Brookfield, Mass., will be buried May 10, in
his hometown. In late November 1950, Knight and elements of the Headquarters Battery, 57th
Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT) were engaged by enemy forces
east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Dec. 1, 1950, remnants of the 31st RCT, known
historically as Task Force Faith, began a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position near
the Hangaru-ri, south of the reservoir.
During the withdrawal, the 31st RCT encountered an enemy road block that forced their
U.S. truck convoy off the road. The convoy came under intense enemy fire, resulting in
numerous casualties. It was during this attack that Knight was reported missing.
In August 2002, a joint U.S/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K) team
excavated a mass grave on the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir; near the last-known location
of Knight. During this excavation operation, the team recovered remains from the site.
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 dental comparison, to identify Knight. They also used mitochondrial DNA–which
matched Knight’s two brothers.
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 website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.