The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and
will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Donald V. MacLean, 17, of Dover, Ohio, will be buried Aug. 31, in Cary, Ill.
In late Nov. 1950, MacLean and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT),
historically known as Task Force Faith, were deployed along the east side of the Chosin Reservoir
near the P’ungnyuri Inlet, in North Korea, when the RCT was attacked by a large number of
Chinese forces. On Dec. 1, 1950, remnants of the 31st RCT began a fighting withdrawal to a
more defensible position near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. On Dec. 2, 1950, during the
withdrawal, MacLean was reported missing.
In 1954, United Nations forces and Communist forces exchanged the remains of war 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 was buried on
the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir. After all attempts to identify the remains failed, a
military review board declared the remains unidentifiable and the remains were interred as
“unknown” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2012, analysts from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and DPMO
reevaluated MacLean’s records and determined that, due to the advances in technology, the
remains should be exhumed for identification.
In the identification of MacLean’s remains, scientists from JPAC used circumstantial
evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental and radiograph comparisons.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were
previously turned over by North Korean officials. 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.