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 Cpl. Edward F. Blazejewski, U.S. Army, of Elizabeth, N.J. He is to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on Friday.
Blazejewski was assigned to Medical Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, when his unit came under heavy artillery attack by Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea, on Nov. 1, 1950. During the attack, Cpl. Blazejewski and other soldiers killed in action were left behind when their unit moved to a previous defensive position. A U.S. soldier who had been held as a prisoner of war by the North Koreans told debriefers that Blazejewski and others had been killed by a grenade explosion.
In August 1997, a joint U.S.-North Korean team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated a site in Pyongan Province believed to contain the remains of several U.S. soldiers. Remains representing four men were recovered, as well as an identification tag and a denture, neither of which were associated with Blazejewski.
The other three soldiers were identified and buried in 2000. Buried at Arlington were Sgt. James T. Higgins, Benham, Ky.; and Pfc. John L. Hoey, Philadelphia, Pa. Sgt. Andrew Ernandis, Brooklyn, N.Y., was buried in Hicksville, N.Y. Group remains representing all four soldiers will also be buried Friday at Arlington.
Among other forensic identification tools, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Blazejewski’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.