The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are Col. Douglas H. Hatfield, of Shenandoah, Va., and Capt. Richard H. Simpson, of Fairhaven, Mich., both U.S. Air Force. Funeral dates have not been set by the families.
On April 12, 1951, Hatfield and Simpson were two of eleven crewmembers on a B-29 Superfortress that left Kadena Air Base, Japan, to bomb targets in the area of Sinuiju, North Korea. Enemy MiG-15 fighters attacked the B-29, but before it crashed, three crewmembers were able to bail out. They were captured and two of them were later released in 1954 to U.S. military control during Operation “Big Switch.” The third crewmember died in captivity. He and the eight remaining crewmembers were not recovered.
In 1993, the North Korean government turned over to the United Nations Command 31 boxes containing the remains of U.S. servicemen listed as unaccounted-for from the Korean War. Four sets of remains from this group were subsequently identified as crewmembers from the
In 2000, a joint U.S./Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated an infantry fighting position in Kujang County where they recovered remains which included those of Hatfield and Simpson.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains recovered in 2000.
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.