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 will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Floyd E. Hooper, 27, of Stratton, Colo., will be buried on Nov. 13 in his hometown. In February 1951, his unit, the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, fought against Chinese Communist Forces in support of Operation Thunderbolt, an operation to sweep and clear enemy forces occupying areas south of the Han River. Strong enemy forces supported by artillery fire forced his unit to withdraw to a defensive perimeter where he was captured on Feb. 4, 1951 near Yangp’yong, Korea. After the 1953 armistice, it was learned from surviving POWs that he had been held in a POW camp in Suan County, North Korea, and died of malnutrition and dysentery just a few months later.
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 were exhumed near Suan County. This location correlates with Hooper’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 used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of his brother – in the identification of his remains.
More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With this accounting, more than 8,000 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 http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.