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.
He is Cpl. Steven Lucas, U.S. Army, of Johnson City, N.Y. He will be buried July 11 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
Representatives from the Army met with Lucas’ 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.
In late November 1950, Lucas was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment making up part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), then engaging enemy forces east of the Chosin Reservoir near Kaljon-Ri, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea. On Nov. 29, remnants of the RCT began a fighting withdrawal to more defensible positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. Lucas never made it to the lines at Hagaru-ri and was last seen on Nov. 30.
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 one of several boxes in 1993 indicated that the remains from that box were exhumed near Kaljon-Ri. This location correlates with Lucas’ 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 Lucas’ 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.