The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are Cpl. Robert L. Mason of Parkersburg, W.Va.; and Pfc. Joseph K. Meyer Jr., of Wahpeton, N.D., both U.S. Army. Both men will be buried Saturday. Mason will be buried in Belpre, Ohio, and Meyer will be buried in Wahpeton.
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
Mason was assigned to B Company, 32nd Infantry Regiment, and Meyer was assigned to K Company, 31st Infantry Regiment. Both were attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 7th Infantry Division. The team was engaged against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, from late November to early December, 1950. Both men died as result of intense enemy fire, and their bodies were not recovered at the time.
Between 2001 and 2005, joint U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted excavations of several burial sites near the Chosin Reservoir. The sites correlate closely with defensive positions held by the 31st RCT at the time of the Chinese attacks. The teams recovered remains there believed to be those of U.S. servicemen. Analysis of the remains recovered from the sites led to the identification of several individuals, including Mason and Meyer.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory and JPAC also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in both Meyer’s and Mason’s identification.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.