The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Sgt. 1st Class Riley Burchfield, 22, of Cleveland, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Sept. 3, 2019.
(This identification was initially published Oct. 1, 2019.)
In late 1950, Burchfield was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was captured by enemy forces near Kunu-ri, North Korea on Nov. 26, 1950. He reportedly died while in custody of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces at Prisoner of War Camp 5 in February 1951.
In 1954, during Operation Glory, North Korea unilaterally turned over remains to the United States, including a set designated Unknown X-13439 Operation Glory. The remains were reportedly recovered from prisoner of war camps, United Nations cemeteries and isolated burial sites. None of the remains could be identified as Burchfield and he was declared non-recoverable. The remains were subsequently buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
In 2018, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred X-13439 Operation Glory as part of the Korean War Disinterment Plan and accessioned the remains to the laboratory.
To identify Burchfield’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison 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, 7,604 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. Burchfield’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.