Dec. 12, 2016 —
Army Cpl. Gerald I. Shepler, missing from the Korean War, has now been accounted for.
On Nov. 29, 1950, Shepler was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, on a reconnaissance patrol. Shepler was the lead scout when the patrol encountered an enemy ambush near Hajoyang-ni, North Korea, during which an enemy mortar round reportedly exploded within 10 yards of Shepler. Following the battle, Shepler could not be accounted for and he was declared missing in action.
Shepler’s name did not appear on any list provided by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces or Korean People’s Army as a prisoner of war. Though no returning American prisoners of war provided any information concerning Shepler, testimony from witnesses stated they suspected he was mortally wounded by the mortar explosion. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Nov. 29, 1950.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled human remains to the United States, which we now believe to contain the remains of at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicate that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Shepler was believed to have died.
DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the identification of his remains.
Interment services are pending.