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 are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Ensign Robert W. Langwell, U.S. Navy, of Columbus, Ind. His funeral will be held July 12 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Oct. 1, 1950, Langwell was serving on the minesweeper USS Magpie when it sank after striking an enemy mine off the coast of Chuksan-ri, South Korea. Twelve crewmen were rescued, but Langwell was one of 20 men lost at sea.
In June 2008, personnel from the Republic of South Korea (ROK) Ministry of National Defense Agency for Killed in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI) canvassed towns in South Korea in an effort to gather information regarding ROK soldiers unaccounted-for from the Korean War. An elderly fisherman, interviewed in the village of Chuksan-ri, reported that he and other villagers had buried an American serviceman in 1950 when his body was caught in the man’s fishing net.
The MAKRI located the burial site on April 28, 2009, where they excavated human remains and military artifacts. The burial site was approximately three miles west of where the USS Magpie sank in 1950. The team turned the remains and artifacts over to U.S. Forces Korea, which sent them to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) for analysis.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, JPAC scientists used dental comparisons in the identification of Langwell’s remains.
With Langwell’s accounting, 8,025 servicemembers still remain missing from the Korean War.
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.