The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. Sterling Geary, Jr., 24, of Cooper, Texas, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for on April 8, 2019.
(This identification was initially published on April 26, 2019.)
In November 1950, Geary was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, which was engaged in battle with the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces in North Korea. He was declared missing in action on Nov. 27, 19510 when he could not be accounted for by his unit following fighting at Hill 234, and Tong-dong Village, North Korea.
Following the war, one returning American prisoner of war reported that Geary had been captured by the CPVF and died in March 1951 while being held at prisoner of war Camp 5. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of March 31, 1951.
On Dec. 21, 1993, North Korea unilaterally turned over 34 boxes of remains, believed to be unaccounted-for U.S. servicemen from the Korean War. The remains in Box 17 were reportedly recovered from Tonju-ri, Pyokdong County, North P’yongan Province, North Korea.
In October 2000, two joint Korean and U.S. Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (a predecessor to DPAA) Recovery Operations excavated sites in Kujang County, North Korea, which is near Unsan County, and an area associated with individuals captured and sent to prisoner of war Camp 5, where Geary was reported to have died. The remains recovered were accessioned to the laboratory and consolidated with remains returned in 1993.
To identify Geary’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA,) Y-chromosome STR DNA (Y-STR) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.
Today, 7,652 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by Korean officials, recovered from Korea by American recovery teams, or disinterred from unknown graves. Geary’s 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.