The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the
remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be
returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Pfc. Carl A. West, U.S. Marine Corps, of Amanda Park, Washington. He will be
buried Oct. 4 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
West was a member of Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, of the 1st Marine
Division deployed near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Nov. 27, 1950, three
Communist Chinese Divisions launched an attack on the Marine positions. Over the next several
days, U.S. forces staged a fighting withdrawal to the south, first to Hagaru-ri, then Koto-ri, and
eventually to defensive positions at Hungnam. West died on Dec. 8, 1950 as a result of enemy
action near Koto-ri. He was buried by fellow Marines in a temporary United Nations military
cemetery in Hungnam, which fell to the North Koreans in December 1950. His identity was later
verified by the FBI from a fingerprint taken at the time of the burial.
During Operation Glory in 1954, the North Korean government repatriated the remains of
2,944 U.S. soldiers and Marines. Included in this repatriation were remains associated with
West’s burial. The staff at the U.S. Army Mortuary in Kokura, Japan, however, cited suspected
discrepancies between the dental remains and West’s dental file as well as discrepancies between
the biological profile derived from the remains and West’s physical characteristics. The remains
were among 416 subsequently buried as “unknowns” in the National Memorial Cemetery of the
Pacific (The Punchbowl) in Hawaii.
In May 2006, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command exhumed remains from The
Punchbowl believed to be those of West. Although the remains did not yield usable DNA data, a
reevaluation of the skeletal and dental remains led to West’s identification.
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.