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 Cpl. Luther J. James, 21, of Sallisaw, Okla., will be buried Sept. 15, in Hamilton,
Mont. In late November 1950, James 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 James went missing.
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 James 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 James’ sister and niece.
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.