The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Marine Corps Sgt. John McLaughlin, 19, of Pittsburgh, will be buried June 6, in his hometown. In early December 1950, McLaughlin and elements of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, occupied positions in Hagaru-ri, North Korea, on the southern end of the Chosin Reservoir. As elements of the 1st Marine Division began to withdraw from Hagaru-ri, Company D engaged a large Chinese force east of Hagaru-ri, that hindered the company’s withdrawal south to a more defensible position. During this battle, McLaughlin was reported killed in action.
In 1954, United Nations and Communist Forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what came to be called “Operation Glory.” All remains recovered in Operation Glory were turned over to the Army’s Central Identification Unit for analysis. The remains they were unable to identify were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2012, with advances in technology, the Department of Defense (DoD) re-examined records and concluded that the possibility of identification of some of these unknowns now existed.
In the identification of McLaughlin’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, dental analysis, and chest radiographs, which matched his records.
Today, 7,852 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.