The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Sgt. James E. Smith, Jr., 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for August 19, 2019.
In late 1950, Smith was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 25, 1950, when enemy forces attacked his unit near Kujang-dong, North Korea. Following the war, several returned American prisoners of war reported that Smith had died in January 1951, in the vicinity of Pukchin-Tarigol, a temporary prisoner of war camp.
On July 27, 2018, following the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018, North Korea turned over 55 boxes, purported to contain the remains of American service members killed during the Korean War. The remains arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Aug. 1, 2018, and were subsequently accessioned into the DPAA laboratory for identification.
To identify Smith’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.
Today, 7,608 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. Smith’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.
For family information, contact the Army Casualty office at (800) 892-2490.
Smith will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The date has yet to be determined.