The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action since the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Pfc. James L. Constant, 19, of Beach Grove, Ind., will be buried May 25, in Indianapolis, Ind. In late 1950, Constant and elements of 2nd Infantry Division (ID) were defending the Naktong Bulge, near Changnyong, South Korea, when they were attacked by enemy forces. As a result of the battle, Constant and many other service members were reported missing.
In September 1950, the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) recovered the remains of a U.S. serviceman from a battlefield near Changnyong, South Korea. The remains were buried in a local 24th ID cemetery in Miryang, South Korea and were later transferred to the United Nations Cemetery in Tanggok. Several months later, the remains were disinterred and transferred to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan for laboratory analysis.
In April 1955 a military review board declared the remains unidentifiable. The unidentified remains were transferred to Hawaii, where they were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2012, analysts from JPAC reevaluated Constant’s records and determined that, due to the advances in technology, the remains recovered from the area near Changnyong should be exhumed for identification.
To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental and radiograph comparison –which matched Constant’s records.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously recovered from North and South Korea. 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.