Army Sgt. James E. Martin, missing from the Korean War, has now been accounted for.
In late November, 1950, Martin was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was engaged by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. By Dec. 2, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 wounded service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured or killed in enemy territory. Following the withdrawal, fighting continued. Because Martin could not be accounted for by his unit at the end of the battle, he was reported missing in action as of Dec. 3, 1950.
Martin’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists and no repatriated Americans reported Martin as a prisoner of war. The U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Dec. 31, 1953.
Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hoped to recover American remains that remained north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Martin’s remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable.
During the 25th Joint Recovery Operation in 2001, recovery teams conducted operations on the eastern bank of the Chosin Reservoir, Changjin County, North Korea, based on information provided by two Korean witnesses. The site was approximately one kilometer from the 31st RCT’s defensive perimeter during its withdrawal. During the excavation, the recovery team recovered possible human remains of at least seven individuals.
DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial and anthropological evidence, were used in identifying Martin’s remains.
Interment services are scheduled for Nov. 17 in Anacoco, Louisiana.