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The 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 Pfc. Aubrey D. Vaughn, 20, of Union, South Carolina, will be buried April 12 in his hometown. On April 23, 1951, Vaughn was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 5th Regimental Combat Team, when his company’s position was overrun by the Chinese Communist Forces near Undamjang, North Korea. After the battle, Vaughn was reported missing in action.
Repatriated American prisoners of war reported that Vaughn died while in captivity at POW Camp 1 in 1951. The U.S. Army subsequently declared Vaughn deceased on July 7, 1951.
In 1954, United Nations and communist forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what came to be called “Operation Glory.” All remains recovered in Operation Glory were turned over to the Army’s Central Identification Unit for analysis. The remains they were unable to identify were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 1999, due to advances in technology, the Department of Defense began to re-examine records and concluded that the possibility for identification of some of these unknowns now existed. The remains designated X-14176 were exhumed on May 18, 2015 so further analysis could be conducted.
In the identification of Vaughn’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence, as well as dental and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched Vaughn’s records.
Today, 7,819 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 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.