WASHINGTON—The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Pfc. Robert A. Wright, 18, of Whitesville, KY, who was killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Aug. 15, 2022.
In July 1950, Wright was a member of C Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He went missing in action during fighting along the Kum River near Taejon, South Korea, on July 16. Due to the fighting, his body could not be recovered at that time, and there was never any evidence that he was a prisoner of war. The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953.
After regaining control of Taejon in the fall of 1950, the Army began recovering remains from the area and temporarily interring them at the United Nations Military Cemetery (UNMC) Taejon. One set of remains recovered during this period was designated Unknown X-296 Taejon. After extensive analysis by the Central Identification Unit-Kokura in Japan was unable to identify X-296, the remains were declared unidentifiable. They were later sent to Hawaii where they were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, with other Korean War Unknowns.
In July 2018, the DPAA proposed a plan to disinter 652 Korean War Unknowns from the Punchbowl. On June 10, 2019, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-296 as part of Phase Two of the Korean War Disinterment Project and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis.
The DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence to identify Wright’s remains. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System also used mtDNA analysis.
Wright’s name has been recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for.
Wright will be buried on a date yet to be determined in Whitesville, Ky.