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 returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Master Sgt. Roy E. Head, U.S. Army, of Clinchport, Va. His funeral will be held Saturday in Duffield, Va.
He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 49th Field Artillery Battalion. After the 1953 armistice, it was learned from surviving POWs that he had been captured in February 1951, marched north to a POW camp in Suan County, North Korea, and died of malnutrition just a few months later.
Between 1991-94, 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 contained remains were exhumed near Suan County. This location correlates with the sergeant’s last known location.
Analysts from DPMO 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 two of his brothers -- in the identification of the remains.
More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With this accounting, 8,025 servicemembers 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 http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.