The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Marine Corps Pfc. Billy E. Johnson, 21, of White Oak, Texas, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Aug. 7, 2019.
(This identification was initially published Aug. 19, 2019.)
In late 1950, Johnson was a member of the 1st Marine Division, attached to the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, after the enemy attacked his unit near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered.
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 Johnson’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, 7,607 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. Johnson’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.
Johnson will be buried Feb. 11, 2020, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.