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. William R. Butz, 19, of Glendive, Montana, will be buried August 12 in Vancouver, Washington. On Dec. 12, 1950, Butz, a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was declared missing in action after his unit was heavily attacked by enemy forces in an area known as the “inlet,” near 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.
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-15726 were exhumed on Dec. 7, 2015, so further analysis could be conducted.
In the identification of Butz’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,802 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.