Soldiers missing from Chosin Reservoir and Bataan identified for return home

Over a dozen Americans who fought and died in Bataan in World War II and at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea have been identified in recent months by a specialized military lab in Nebraska. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday it had identified, or ‘accounted for,’ the remains of 16 soldiers this spring, most from one of those two famous battles.

Scientists and historians at the DPAA, based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, have spent decades matching fragments of bodies recovered from former battlefields with the names of U.S. service members long marked as missing in action.

“We just weren’t able to get them posted to our website until yesterday,” said DPAA media relations chief Sean Everette. “I know it seems like it was 16 all at once, but their actual IDs and family notifications were spread out.”

Of those announced Monday, most died as POWs. The group includes seven Army and Army Air Forces soldiers who were captured in the Philippines and imprisoned at Bataan. Japanese guards forced the American and Filipino service members into the marchin groups of 100 on the only paved road on the Bataan peninsula at the time. Four Japanese guards were assigned to each group and forced the POWs to march north toward Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac province, 65 miles away. Approximately 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos died as POWs on the island, though exact numbers remain unknown. 

The other nine fought a decade later in Korea, three of whom died in prison camps, three others at the Chosin Reservoir and the other three in other action.

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Each service member accounted for follows the DPAA and partner companies who work together to identify POW/MIA service members through DNA matching, forensic analysis, dental record analysis, and, if available, radioisotope testing.the job entails. 

The DPAA’s mission is to account for as many of the missing U.S. military personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation as possible. Their mission takes their research and archiological teams to hundreds of countries and municipalities around the world.

More than 81,500 Americans are unaccounted for from past conflicts, with over 41,000 of those missing lost at sea from Navy ships, Air Force aircraft or other ocean mishaps. 

Either way, 16 families have been notified that their long lost loved ones have been found. 

WW II veterans accounted for:

Korean War:

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Joshua Skovlund

Staff Writer

Joshua Skovlund is a contributor for Task & Purpose. He has reported around the world, from Minneapolis to Ukraine, documenting some of the most important world events to happen over the past five years. He served as a forward observer in the US Army, and after leaving the service, he worked for five years in paramedicine before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism.