Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Hopfensperger)

Release No: 12-054 Oct. 4, 2012
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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 Pfc. Arthur W. Hopfensperger, 18, of Outagamie, Wis., will be buried Oct. 8, in Appleton, Wis. In late November 1950, Hopfensperger and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as “Task Force Faith,” were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea. After coming under attack, they began a fighting withdrawal to positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. During this withdrawal Hopfensperger went missing.

From 2002 to 2005, six joint U.S.-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated burial sites on the eastern shore of the Chosin Reservoir, where Hopfensperger was last seen. The teams recovered human remains and military equipment associated with the 31st Regimental Combat Team.

In the identification of the 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 radiograph, dental records and mitochondrial DNA–which matched Hopfensperger’s cousin.

Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain 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 http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.