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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 Cpl. Dennis D. Buckley, 24, of Detroit, will be buried April 14 in Rittman, Ohio. On Feb. 5, 1951, Buckley was assigned to A Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was supporting the South Korean Army attacks against units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the area known as the Central Corridor in South Korea. The CPVF launched a counterattack, overwhelming neighboring units and leaving the 15th Field Artillery Battalion behind enemy lines. As the unit conducted a fighting withdrawal south toward Wonju, Buckley went missing near Hoengsong and was reported missing on February 13.
Buckley’s remains were not located after the CPVF units withdrew north in March 1951, nor by the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service during organized searches in 1953. Additionally, his name never appeared on any list of Americans who were in custody of the North Koreans or the CPVF.
However, a repatriated American prisoner of war provided information that Buckley was captured by the CPVF and died in their custody at the Suan POW camp. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared Buckley dead on June 30, 1951.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which when combined with remains recovered during joint recovery operations in North Korea, account for 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 Buckley was believed to have died.
To identify Buckley’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used dental comparison analysis, which matched his records; mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat DNA analysis, which matched a brother and a sister; anthropological analysis; as well as circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,819 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American 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.