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News Release

Press Release | May 6, 2024

Soldier Accounted for from Korean War (Spruell, J.)

Washington  –  

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Corporal John A. Spruell, 19, of Cortez, Colorado, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Aug. 11, 2023.

In Dec. 1950, Spruell was a member of Battery B, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. He went missing in action after his unit engaged in intensive combat actions in the vicinity of Hagaru-ri, South Korea, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. At the time the circumstances for his loss were not immediately recorded, and there was never any evidence that he was a prisoner of war. The Army issued a finding of Missing In Action on Dec. 6, 1950.

Following the war, in 1954, the opposing nations reached an agreement to exchange war dead, the execution of which was known as Operation GLORY. One set of Unknown remains, designated X-15754 OP GLORY, was reportedly recovered near the Chosin Reservoir in the vicinity of where the 57th Field Artillery Battalion were known to be fighting. A tentative association was made between X-15754 and Spruell, but definitive proof could not be found, and X-15754 was determined to be unidentifiable. The remains were sent to Hawaii where they were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In July 2018, the DPAA proposed a plan to disinter 652 Korean War Unknowns from the Punchbowl. On March 8, 2021, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-15754 as part of Phase Three of the Korean War Disinterment Project and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory, for analysis.

To identify Spruell’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as chest radiograph comparison and circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Cpl Spruell’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Cpl Spruell will be buried in Cortez, Colorado, on a date to be determined.

For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.

To see the most up-to-date statistics on DPAA recovery efforts for those unaccounted for from the Korean War, go to the Korean War Accounting page on the DPAA website at:

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, find us on social media at or

Spruell’s personnel profile can be viewed at