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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 will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Sgt. Dougall H. Espey, Jr., U.S. Army, of Mount Laurel, N.J. He will be buried April 3 in Elmira, N.Y.
Representatives from the Army’s Mortuary Office met with Espey’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
Espey was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On Nov. 1, 1950, the 8th Cavalry was occupying a defensive position near Unsan, North Korea in an area known as the “Camel’s Head,” when elements of two Chinese Communist Forces divisions struck the 1st Cavalry Division’s lines, collapsing the perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. The 3rd Battalion was surrounded and effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit. Espey was one of the more than 350 servicemen unaccounted-for from the battle at Unsan.
Between 1991-94, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents turned over with several boxes in 1993 indicated that the remains from those boxes were exhumed near Chonsung-Ri, Unsan County. This location correlates with Espey’s last known location.
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 mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
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.