The DPAA announced they accounted for 16 different WW II and Korean War service members last reported as MIA or POWs. (Photos courtesy of the DPAA. Wikimedia Commons image. Task & Purpose Composite image).

Over a dozen Americans who fought and died in Bataan in World War II and the Chosin Reservoir in Korea have been identified in recent months by a specialized military lab in Nebraska. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday it had identified, or ‘accounted for,’ the remains of 16 soldiers this spring, most from one of those two famous battles.

Scientists and historians at the DPAA, based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, have spent decades matching fragments of bodies recovered from former battlefields with the names of U.S. service members long marked as missing in action.

“We just weren’t able to get them posted to our website until yesterday,” said DPAA media relations chief Sean Everette. “I know it seems like it was 16 all at once, but their actual IDs and family notifications were spread out.”

Of those announced Monday, most died as POWs. The group includes seven Army and Army Air Forces soldiers who were captured in the Philippines and imprisoned at Bataan. Japanese guards forced the American and Filipino service members into the marchin groups of 100 on the only paved road on the Bataan peninsula at the time. Four Japanese guards were assigned to each group and forced the POWs to march north toward Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac province, 65 miles away. Approximately 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos died as POWs on the island, though exact numbers remain unknown. 

The other nine fought a decade later in Korea, three of whom died in prison camps, three others at the Chosin Reservoir and the other three in other action.

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Each service member accounted for follows the DPAA and partner companies who work together to identify POW/MIA service members through DNA matching, forensic analysis, dental record analysis, and, if available, radioisotope testing.the job entails. 

The DPAA’s mission is to account for as many of the missing U.S. military personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation as possible. Their mission takes their research and archiological teams to hundreds of countries and municipalities around the world.

More than 81,500 Americans are unaccounted for from past conflicts, with over 41,000 of those missing lost at sea from Navy ships, Air Force aircraft or other ocean mishaps. 

Either way, 16 families have been notified that their long lost loved ones have been found. 

WW II veterans accounted for:

  • Army Air Forces Sgt. Jack H. Hohlfeld, accounted for May 29, 2024.
  • Army Corporal Raymond N. DeCloss, accounted for Apr. 29, 2024.
  • Army Sgt. Sam A. Prince, accounted for Apr. 25, 2024.
  • Army Tech. Sgt. Charles E. Young Jr., accounted for Apr. 17, 2024.
  • Army Air Forces Private Robert W. Cash, was accounted for Apr. 3, 2024.
  • Army Private Jacob Gutterman, accounted for Mar. 26, 2024.
  • Army Pfc. Joseph C. Murphy, 20, of Bogalusa, Louisiana, accounted for Apr. 1, 2024.

Korean War:

  • Army Sgt. Clayton M. Pierce, accounted for June 7, 2024.
  • Army Corporal Edward J. Smith, accounted for May 15, 2024.
  • Army Sgt. 1st Class Israel Ramos, accounted for May 2, 2024.
  • Army Sgt. Kester B. Hardman, accounted for May 2, 2024.
  • Army Corporal William Colby, accounted for May 2, 2024.
  • Army Pfc. Charles A. Vorel Jr., accounted for Apr. 22, 2024.
  • Army Corporal Jesse L. Mitchell, accounted for Apr. 8, 2024.
  • Army Sgt. John P. Ryhter, accounted for Apr. 8, 2024.
  • Army Sgt. Charles E. Beaty, accounted for Apr. 5, 2024.

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