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. Charles Allen, 23, of Mineola, Texas, will be buried May 17, in Dallas. In late November 1950, Allen and elements of Company C, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (IR), 25th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed north of the Ch’ongch’on River, North Korea, when their unit was encircled and attacked by enemy forces. During this attack, Allen was captured by enemy forces.
Several days after the attack, enemy forces marched Allen and other captured servicemen, north to prisoner of war (POW) Camp 5 at Old Pyoktong on the southern banks of the Yalu River. On March 31, 1951, Allen died in captivity and was buried by fellow POWs.
In 1954, the United Nations and Communist Forces exchanged the remains of the war’s dead, in what came to be known as Operation Glory. Among those remains turned over by enemy forces was a box which allegedly contained the remains of a U.S. serviceman who died at POW Camp 5, near Pyoktong. After all attempts to identify the remains failed, a military review board declared the remains unidentifiable and the remains were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2012, analysts from JPAC and the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) reevaluated Allen’s records and determined that, due to the advances in technology, the remains should be exhumed for identification.
In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison–which matched Allen’s records.
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.