The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) 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.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Dean D. Chaney, 21, of Bloomville, Ohio, will be buried Nov. 13 in his hometown. In late November, 1950, Chaney was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, which established defensive positions near Yongsan-dong, North Pyongan Province, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.), about ten miles north of the Ch’ongch’on River. About 100 soldiers from the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces set up a roadblock behind the unit and cut off their withdrawal routes. These enemy forces quickly attacked the regiment. It was during this fight that Chaney went missing in action.
In 1953, during the prisoner of war exchanges historically known as “Operation Little Switch” and “Operation Big Switch,” repatriated U.S. soldiers who had been held as prisoners of war reported that Chaney had died from malnutrition at POW Camp 5 in April 1951. A military review board later amended Chaney’s status to deceased.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which we now believe contain the remains of at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area where Chaney was believed to have died.
To Identify Chaney’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial, autosomal chromosome, and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat DNA analyses, which matched two of his brothers.
Today, more than 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.