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 Pfc. Ronald C. Huffman, 18, of Lashmeet, W.V., will be buried Sept. 21, in Princeton, W.V. On Feb. 12, 1951, Huffman and the K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment fought Chinese forces in a battle near Saemal, South Korea. By June 1951 the Chinese reported that Huffman had been captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp near Changsong, North Korea. American POWs held with Huffman reported that he died in the camp in July 1951. Chinese officials later confirmed Huffman died on July 22, 1951.
In 1954 the United Nations and Communist Forces exchanged the remains of a POW from the Changsong Camp. Attempts to identify the remains in the 1950s were unsuccessful and the remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as “the Punchbowl.”
In 2012, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) reassessed the possibility of identifying the remains using modern technology and the decision was made to exhume the remains for identification.
To identify Huffman, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including dental records and radiograph comparisons.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were excavated from North Korean or turned over by North Korean officials. More than 7,900 American service members are 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 www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.