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. David J. Wishon, Jr., 18, of Baltimore, will be buried May 6 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. On Dec. 1, 1950, Wishon, assigned to Medical Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was declared missing in action after his unit was heavily attacked by enemy forces in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Due to a prolonged lack of information regarding his status, a military review board amended his status to deceased in 1953.
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, included 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 Wishon was believed to have died.
Additionally, in October 2000, a joint U.S./North Korea recovery team recovered human remains from an alleged burial site in Kujang, North Korea.
To identify Wishon’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, consisting of two forms of DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat DNA, which matched his sisters.
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.