The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Cpl. Clarence R. Becker, U.S. Army, of Lancaster, Pa. He was buried April 25 in Indiantown Gap, Pa.
Representatives from the Army met with Becker’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.
On Dec. 1, 1950, Becker went missing in action when the convoy of trucks in which he was riding was ambushed south of Kunuri, North Korea. He was captured and taken prisoner. U.S. servicemen who were held in captivity with Becker said he died in the North Korean Pyoktong POW Camp 5 around May 1951 from malnutrition and disease. He was buried near the camp.
Following the Armistice, the Chinese Army exhumed remains from several POW camp cemeteries and repatriated them in 1954 to the United Nations forces during Operation Glory. Becker’s remains could not be identified at the time and were subsequently buried as unknown remains at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific—the Punch Bowl—in Hawaii.
In 2005, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) reexamined Korean War-era documents relating to unknowns buried at the Punch Bowl, which suggested that some of these remains might be identifiable. Later that year, JPAC exhumed a grave there believed to be associated with Becker.
Among other traditional forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC also used dental comparisons in Becker’s identification.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/
or call (703) 699-1169.