Press Release | Aug. 10, 2012

Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Barker)

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 T. Barker, 21, of Rockwall, Texas, will be buried August 15, in Killeen, Texas. In late November 1950, Barker, and elements of the 2nd Infantry Division were attacked by Chinese forces near Kunu-ri, North Korea. On Dec. 1, 1950, Barker, along with many other American soldiers, was listed as missing in action as a result of that heavy fighting.

In 1953, returning Americans who had been held as prisoners of war reported that Barker had been captured by the Chinese, and died in February of 1951 as a result of malnutrition while in a prisoner of war camp known as “Camp 5” at Pyoktong, North Korea.

Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of 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 human remains were recovered from North Phyongan Province, where Barker was believed to have been held in “Camp 5.”

To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, forensic identification tools such as dental records and mitochondrial DNA – which matched Barker’s sisters.

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 or call (703) 699-1169.