The Department of Defense Prisoner Of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced on Dec. 18 that the remains of a Yadkin County U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Harold M. Brown, 20, will be buried Dec. 22, in Hamptonville.The burial service will be held at Gentry Family Funeral Home Chapel in Yadkinville at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22. The burial will follow at the Mountain Grove United Methodist Church on Rena Road in Jonesville.
In late November 1950, Brown and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as “Task Force Faith,” were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea. After coming under attack, they began a fighting withdrawal to positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. Brown was reported missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950.
In 1953, a returning American who had been held as a prisoner of war reported that Brown had been captured by Chinese forces and died shortly thereafter as a result of exposure to the elements.
His remains were not recovered by American forces at that time, nor were they repatriated by the Chinese or North Koreans in “Operation Big Switch,” in 1954.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. service members. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the human remains were recovered from the area where Brown was last seen.
In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as radiograph and mitochondrial DNA–which matched Brown’s aunt and cousin.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials. Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
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.