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 Master Sgt. Richard Davis, 30, of Black Lick, Pennsylvania, will be buried June 24 in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. In early November 1950, Davis was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, near Unsan, North Korea, when Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces attacked the regiment, and forced the unit to withdraw. Many soldiers became surrounded and attempted to escape and evade the enemy, but were captured and marched to POW camps. Davis was declared missing in action as a result of the battle that occurred between Nov. 1 and 2, 1950.
In 1953, during the prisoner of war exchange historically known as “Operation Big Switch,” nine repatriated American soldiers reported that Davis was held at POW Camp 5 and died in February or March 1951. Additionally, Davis’ name appeared on a POW list compiled by the Chinese, dated April 8, 1951. Based on this information, a military review board amended Davis’ status to deceased in 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 between 1996 and 2005, 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 vicinity where Davis was believed to have died.
To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a niece and great niece, Y-Short Tandem Release DNA analysis, which matched a nephew and a sister; dental comparison analysis, which matched Davis’ records; and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,812 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.