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 returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. First Class Wallace L. Slight, 24, of Yates City, Ill., will be buried Dec. 3 in Van Meter, Iowa. Representatives from the Army met with Slight’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army. On Nov. 1, 1950, Slight was assigned to M Company, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, occupying a defensive position in North Korea, along the Nammyon River, near a bend known as the “Camel’s Head.” Two enemy elements attacked the 1st Cavalry Division’s lines, collapsing their perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. Almost 400 men, including Slight, were reported missing or killed in action following the battle.
In 1953, a U.S. soldier captured during the same battle reported that a fellow prisoner of war had told him Slight had died on the battlefield during the attack.
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 in one of the boxes were exhumed near Unsan County, North Pyongan Province. This location correlates with the location of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment on Nov. 2, 1950.
Analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads with information spanning more than 58 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses, experts evaluated circumstances surrounding the soldier’s captivity and death and researched wartime documentation of his loss.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Slight’s brother and half-brother—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) 699-1420.