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, were recently
identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. Willard F. Williams, 21, of Ocean Springs, Miss., will be buried May 1, in
Lexington, Miss. In late November 1950, Williams, and units of the 35th Infantry Regiment and
allied forces were deployed in a defensive line along the Kuryong and Ch’ongch’on Rivers in
North Korea, when Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces attacked their positions. American units
sustained heavy losses as they withdrew south towards the town of Yongbyon. Williams was
listed as missing in action on Nov. 28, 1950.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of human remains
believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents, turned
over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area
where Williams was believed to have died in 1950, near the Kuryong River.
To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and
the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic
identification tools such as mitochondrial DNA - which matched Williams’ sister and niece.
Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the Korean War.
Identifications continue to be made from the remains that were returned to the United States,
using forensic and DNA technology.
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) 699-1169.