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News Release

Press Release | Sept. 23, 2013

Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Alvarez)

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. Armando Alvarez, 20, of El Paso, Texas, will be buried Sept. 27, in his hometown. In late 1950, Alvarez and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), were advancing along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) encircled and attempted to overrun the U.S. position. As the battle continued, the 31st RCT, known historically as Task Force Faith, began a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position. Following the battle, Alvarez was reported missing on Dec. 2, 1950.

In Sept. 2004 a joint U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (D.P.R.K.) team surveyed and excavated a field south of the P’ungnyuri inlet of the Chosin Reservoir, near the area where Alvarez was last seen, recovering human remains.

To identify Alvarez’s remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison and mitochondrial DNA – which matched Alvarez’s sister.

Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call (703) 699-1127.