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 U.S. Army Corporal Harry J. Reeve of Philadelphia. He will be buried Wednesday in Radcliff, Ky.
In early November 1950, Reeve was assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division occupying a defensive position near the town of Unsan in the bend of the Kuryong River known as the “Camel’s Head.” Two enemy elements attacked the U.S. forces, collapsing their perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. Reeve’s unit was involved in heavy fighting which devolved into hand-to-hand combat around their command post. Almost 400 men of the 8th Cavalry Regiment were reported missing in action or killed in action from the battle at Unsan.
In late November 1950, a U.S. soldier captured during the battle of Unsan reported during his debriefing that he and nine other soldiers were moved to a house near the battlefield. He provided detailed information on the location of the incident and the identities of the other soldiers. The POWs were taken to an adjacent field and shot. Three of the 10 Americans survived, though one died the following morning from his wounds.
Following the armistice in 1953 and the release of POWs, the other surviving soldier confirmed the details provided in 1950.
Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 58 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses, experts validated circumstances surrounding the soldier’s captivity and death, confirming wartime documentation of his loss.
In May 2004, a joint U.S.-North Korean team excavated a mass grave near the “Camel’s Head.” An elderly North Korean citizen reported that he had witnessed the death of seven or eight U.S. soldiers near that location and provided the team with a general description of the burial site.
The excavation team recovered human remains and other personal artifacts, ultimately leading to the identification of seven soldiers from that site.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA in the identification.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.