The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Cpl. Joe T. Avant, 20, of Greenwood, Mississippi, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Sept. 10, 2019.
(This identification was initially published Sept. 12, 2019.)
In late 1950, Avant was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat Team. He was reported missing in action Nov. 30, 1950, in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces. 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 Avant’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) and analysis.
Today, 7,605 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. Avant’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.