Press Release | Aug. 13, 2010

Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Fastner)

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.

Army Master Sgt. Michael C. Fastner, 31, of St. Paul, Minn., will be buried July 22 in Fort Snelling, Minn. On Nov. 25, 1950, he was assigned to the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division in North Korea, when the division came under attack near Kujang, along the Ch’ongch’on River. The unit was forced to withdraw to a more defensible position. Following the battle, Fastner was reported missing in action.

After the 1953 armistice, surviving POWs said Fastner had been captured by enemy forces near Kunu-ri, in late November 1950, and died of malnutrition in captivity on Feb. 28, 1951.

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 some of the boxes, indicated that human remains were recovered near two major North Korean POW camps - Suan Bean Camp and Suan Mining Camp.

Analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command developed case leads with information spanning more than 58 years. Through interviews with surviving POW eyewitnesses, experts validated circumstances surrounding the soldier’s captivity and death, confirming wartime documentation of his loss.

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 Fastner’s sisters— 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 or call (703) 699-1169.