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Release No: 650-05
June 27, 2005

Korean War Missing in Action Serviceman Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial in Fergus Falls, Minn. on Wednesday.


He is Cpl. John O. Strom of Fergus Falls, Minn.


On the night of Nov. 1, 1950, Stroms unit, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, came under attack by Chinese communist forces near the village of Unsan in North Korea. His battalion sought to escape the larger Chinese unit, and evacuated along a route well documented in U.S. records.


The fighting raged on for several days, and by Nov. 4, those men able to escape withdrew to friendly lines south of the Kuryong River, though more than 380 soldiers of the 8th Cavalry Regiment were unaccounted for.


In July and August 2002, a joint team of U.S. and North Korean specialists investigated a site near Unsan where a villager had reportedly reburied remains believed to be those of a U.S. serviceman from another location. The team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated both sites and found human remains as well as a few pieces of non-biological evidence. The team was also given Stroms military identification tag found by the villager.


Laboratory analysis of the remains by forensic scientists at JPAC led to Stroms identification. Comparisons of mitochondrial DNA results were key factors in their finding.


Of the 88,000 Americans who are missing from all conflicts, approximately 8,100 are from the Korean War. More than 1,800 remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, 126 from the Cold War, and 78,000 from World War II. Remains believed to be those of more than 220 American servicemen have been recovered in joint operations in North Korea.


For additional information on the Defense Departments mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169 .

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