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 returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is U.S. Army Corporal Henry D. Connell of Springfield, Mass. He will be buried in his hometown on Saturday.
Connell was assigned to Company L, 8th Cavalry Regiment, when his unit engaged North Korean forces near Taegu, South Korea, in September 1950. He sustained injuries from a fall while evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Connell was sent to a military hospital in Japan, from which he was later reported – erroneously – to be absent without leave.
An investigation proved that Connell had returned to his unit, now battling Communist Chinese forces in North Korea in early November 1950 near Unsan, about 60 miles north of the capital of Pyongyang. He had been reported missing in action from that battle.
Between 1991-94, North Korea turned 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. One of those boxes, received on July 12, 1993, contained two dog tags for Connell, as well as human remains. The accompanying North Korean documents indicated the remains had been exhumed in Unsan County.
Over the next several years, forensic anthropologists at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, were able to determine that the box contained the remains of at least four individuals. Some of those remains represented a 14-18-year-old male who stood approximately 70 inches tall at the time of his death. Korean War medical records indicated that Connell was 17 years, 9 months of age, and stood 69.5 inches tall.
Among several forensic identification tools, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) also used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools in the identification of Connell’s remains, matching a DNA sequence from a maternal relative.
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) 699-1169.