The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. Herschel M. Riggs, 18, of Rio Grande City, Texas, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on March 21, 2019.
(This identification was initially announced on March 26, 2019).
In July 1950, Riggs was an infantryman with Headquarters Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, involved in combat actions against North Korean forces near Taejon, South Korea. Riggs was declared missing in action on July 16, 1950, when he could not be accounted for by his unit. Following numerous battlefield searches, the American Graves Registration Service was unable to locate Riggs’ remains and he was declared deceased on July 31, 1953.
In October 1950, a set of remains found at Choch’iwon, and designated X-155 Taejon, were sent to the Central Identification Unit in Kokura Japan for possible identification. The remains, unable to be identified, were subsequently buried in the National Memorial of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
After thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-155 Taejon could likely be identified. On Oct. 16, 2017, X-155 was disinterred and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Riggs’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Today, 7,662 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams. Riggs’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Riggs will be buried May 25, 2019, in Pearsall, Texas.