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 Sgt. Edward J. O’Brien, U.S. Army, of Omaha, Neb. He will be buried July 2 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Representatives from the Army met with O’Brien’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.
In late November 1950, O’Brien was assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, then deployed north of the Chongchon River, along the main road running south out of Unsan, North Korea. On Nov. 26, the Chinese army struck the U.S. and Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) forces during the Battle of the Chongchon River. As a result, U.S. and R.O.K. forces, including the 35th Regiment, were forced to withdraw to the south. O’Brien was last seen when opposing forces overran his company’s position about 10 miles southwest of Unsan.
In 1998, a joint U.S./Democratic People’s Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a site containing the remains of a U.S. soldier who died south of Unsan in the general vicinity where O’Brien was last seen. The team found human remains and two military identification tags with O’Brien’s name on them. A North Korean national told the team that he first uncovered the remains while constructing his house, and that he buried them at the nearby site which was excavated.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of O’Brien’s 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.