Remains of teen U.S. soldier killed in Korean War identified

Remains of teen U.S. soldier killed in Korean War identified

The remains of a 19-year-old Arizona soldier who was killed in action during the Korean War in 1950 will be buried next month in Tucson, U.S. Army officials said.

Burial for Pvt. Felix M. Yanez is scheduled for Sept. 3 at South Lawn Cemetery, after his remains were identified on July 13, 2022.

Yanez was a native of Douglas, Arizona who served in the Army as a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

Pvt. Felix M. Yanez

Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Army officials said Yanez died on July 16, 1950 while fighting the North Korean People’s Army along the Kum River north of Taejon, South Korea.

“Due to the fighting, his body could not be recovered at that time,” officials said.

A set of remains recovered in March 1951 that couldn’t be identified were buried in the United Nations Cemetery Tanggok.

Five years later, all 848 unidentified sets of Korean War remains at the Central Identification Unit Kokura in Japan were sent to Hawaii and buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

But in 2019, the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency had some of the unidentified remains disinterred and sent to a laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

Army officials said Yanez’s remains finally were identified through dental and DNA analysis.

Remains of West Virginia soldier killed in Korean War to be buried

The Army also said graveside services for U.S. Army Cpl. Paul Mitchem, 20, of Avondale, will be held Sept. 2 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The POW/MIA Accounting Agency accounted for Mitchem in February 2021. He was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

U.S. Army Cpl. Paul Mitchem

Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Mitchem was reported missing in action in July 1950 after his unit sustained heavy casualties near Ch’onan, South Korea. His unit was forced to retreat and his body was not initially found.

Remains recovered in October 1950 were determined to be unidentifiable and were buried in Honolulu, Hawaii. Remains exhumed in 2019 from the Punchbowl cemetery were confirmed as Mitchem though DNA testing and dental and anthropological analysis.

A rosette will be placed next to his name on the Courts of the Missing Walls at the Punchbowl to indicate he has been accounted for.

According to the Army, more than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Since 1982, the remains of more than 450 Americans killed in the Korean War have been identified and returned to their families, the Army said. In addition, the remains of about 2,000 Americans were identified in the years after the war, when the North Korean government returned remains to U.S. custody.

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