Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Gustafson)

Release No: 11-025 Oct. 18, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office 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.

Private First Class Henry L. Gustafson, 18, of Cook Ill., will be buried Oct. 22 in West Lebanon, Ind. In late Nov., 1950, Gustafson was assigned to 31st Regimental Combat Team in North Korea, when the division came under attack near Kaljon-ri, near the Chosin Reservoir. The unit was forced to withdraw to a more defensible position near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. Private First Class Gustafson was taken as a prisoner of war by the Communist Forces.

After the 1953 armistice, a surviving POW confirmed that Private First Class Gustafson had been captured by enemy forces, and died from lack of medical care in captivity shortly after being captured.

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. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, additional human remains were recovered by join U.S./Democratic People’s Republic of Korea teams in North Korea. From these remains the Department was able to identify the remains of Private First Class Gustafson through DNA testing.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Private First Class Gustafson’s mother—in the identification of the remains.

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.