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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, have been
identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. William E. Brashear, 24, of Owensboro, Ky., will be buried March 31, in his
hometown. In November 1950, Brashear of Company B, 70th Tank Battalion, along with almost
600 other 8th Cavalry Regiment soldiers, was killed during a battle south of Unsan, North Korea.
Their bodies were not able to be recovered at the time and were likely buried on the battlefield by
Chinese or North Korean forces.
In 2000, a joint U.S./Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) team led by the
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a mass grave that had been discovered
in Unsan. Human remains, of at least five individuals, and U.S. military uniforms were recovered
but they were unable to be identified given the technology of the time. In 2007, because of
advances in DNA technology, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory
(AFDIL) reanalyzed the remains.
Among forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC
and AFDIL used dental records and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Brashear’s
sister and cousin – in the identification of his remains.
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 www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.