The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, were identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Robert I. Wax, 21, of Detroit, will be buried June 20, at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In August 1950, Wax and Battery A, 555th Field Artillery Battalion, were fighting against North Korean forces in a battle known as the “Bloody Gulch,” near Pongam-ni, South Korea. After the battle, on Aug. 11, Wax was listed as missing in action.
In late 1950, U.S. Army Graves Registration Service personnel recovered remains of service members from that battlefield, including nine men who were unidentified. These men were buried at the 25th Infantry Division Cemetery in South Korea. In 1951, the U.S. consolidated cemeteries on the peninsula. The unknown remains were re-interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
In 2011, due to advances in identification technology, the remains were exhumed for identification. Based on available evidence such as metal identification tags, military clothing, and wartime records, analysts from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) were able to conclude that the remains were a soldier who died at Pongam-ni.
Scientists from JPAC used the circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including radiograph and dental comparisons in the identification of Wax.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.