DPMO has announced the identification of for more US MIAs – two from Korea, and two from Southeast Asia.
SGT Ervin A. Fricke, formerly of Oakville, WA, was assigned to the 9th Infantry Regiment, US Army. He was lost in action near the Ch’ongch’on River in the vicinity of the town of Kujang, North Korea, on 25 November 1950.
In 1999, a joint US-North Korean team recovered human remains at a site on the north bank of the Ch’ongch’on River. Later forensic tests, including mtDNA matching, positively identified the remains as being SGT Fricke’s.
SGT Fricke was buried in Portland, OR, on 26 February 2013.
SGT Raymond T. Wellbrock, formerly of Cincinnati, OH, was assigned to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), US Army. He was lost in action on 12 December 1950 during the fighting withdrawal of remnants of the 31st RCT from the Chosin Reservoir as part of Task Force Faith.
In 1953, SGT Wellbrock was reported by a repatriated US POW to have been wounded and captured alive. Unfortunately, SGT Wellbrock died shortly after capture due to the combination of his wounds and lack of medical treatment
SGT Wellbrock’s remains were among those in 208 boxes of remains (believed to belong to between 200 and 400 individuals) repatriated by North Korea between 1991 and 1994. Current forensic technology allowed the positive identification of those remains belonging to SGT Wellbrock. He will be buried on 9 March 2013 in Cincinnati.
Additionally, two US MIAs from SEA have also been recently identified – though full details are not presently available.
LCpl Merlin R. Allen, Company A, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, USMC, was lost on June 30, 1967, in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. He was accounted for on Feb. 16, 2013. He will be buried with full military honors on June 30, 2013 in Wisconsin.
PFC Daniel A. Benedett, USMC, was lost on May 15, 1975, near Koh Tang Island, Cambodia, during a rescue mission. He was accounted for on Jan. 30, 2013. Pfc. Benedett was lost during the Mayaguez Incident when the helicopter transporting him to the assault on Koh Tang Island was disabled by enemy fire and crashed at sea.
Rest now in peace, my elder brothers-in-arms. You’re finally home.
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Over 7,900 US personnel remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, and over 1,650 remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. If you are relative of one of the individuals listed here (Korea) or listed here (Southeast Asia), please consider reading this link to see if you qualify to submit a mtDNA sample – and if you do qualify, please do so. By doing so, you may be able to help identify US remains that have been repatriated but not yet positively identified.
Everybody deserves a proper burial. That’s especially true for those who gave their all in the service of this nation.