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. 1st Class Harold M. Brown, 20, of Winston-Salem, N.C., will be buried Dec.
22, in Hamptonville, N.C. In late November 1950, Brown 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. Brown was reported missing in action on Dec.
In 1953, a returning American who had been held as a prisoner of war reported that Brown
had been captured by Chinese forces and died shortly thereafter as a result of exposure to the
His remains were not recovered by American forces at that time, nor were they repatriated
by the Chinese or North Koreans in “Operation Big Switch,” in 1954.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains
believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. service members. North Korean documents,
turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the human remains were recovered
from the area where Brown was last seen.
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 and mitochondrial
DNA–which matched Brown’s aunt and cousin.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were
previously turned over by North Korean officials. 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.