Press Release | May 18, 2011

U.S. Soldier MIA From Korean War Identified (Terrell)

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 returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Joseph A. Terrell, 30, of Dallas, Tex., will be buried tomorrow in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery. On Nov. 1, 1950, Terrell’s unit, L Company, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, occupied a defensive position in North Korea along the Nammyon River near a bend known as the “Camel’s Head.” Two enemy elements attacked U.S. lines, collapsing their perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. Almost 400 men, including Terrell, were reported missing or killed in action following the battle.

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. North Korean documents turned over with one of the boxes indicated the remains in one of the boxes were exhumed in Unsan County, North Pyongan Province. This location correlates with the location of the 8th Cavalry on Nov. 2, 1950.

Analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads with information spanning more than 60 years. They evaluated the circumstances surrounding the soldier’s death and researched wartime documentation of the movements of U.S. and enemy forces on the battlefield.

Among forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Terrell’s cousin—in the identification. In addition, Terrell’s military identification tags were included with the remains.

More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With this identification, 7,995 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call (703) 699-1420.