There are 203 Kentuckians
whose bodies have not been returned from the Korean War. KDVA is assisting the DOD POW/MIA office in locating family members of these missing
in an effort to obtain DNA samples that will be very helpful in identifying remains as they are found and returned to the US. We have located many family members, but are still looking for family members of 11.
if you know of any family members of those still missing.
In 2004, DNA from family members helped to identify the remains of PFC Charles Anderson Williams of Carlisle, Kentucky. PFC Williams, who was killed in action in Korea in 1950, was buried in Carlisle with full military honors. His brother and nephew received the flag from his casket.
How the Missing DNA Project Works
The Department of Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) has primary responsibility for the mission. They have many partners in this effort…one is Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). JPAC works on locating and identifying remains. Other partners are casualty/repatriation offices from each of the Armed Services (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard), the Department of State and the CIA. Also, State Departments of Veterans Affairs like ours (Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs) are out here trying to find families for whom JPAC needs a DNA sample.
There are 203 Kentuckians still missing from Korea. Of that number there are 11 for whom there is still no DNA on file. KDVA has helped find some of the family members who supplied DNA for 157 of the missing, but some families discovered the project from other sources. While we had a lot of success when the program began in 2001, as time goes on it is becoming increasingly difficult to find these families. As of January 2014, it had been several years since we were able to locate any of them.
When we locate a family member of one of those for whom there is no DNA on file we generally contact the appropriate repatriation office (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard). They make arrangements with the family to capture the DNA and have it forwarded to JPAC. Then when remains are located they are able to use the DNA for positive identification.
JPAC uses Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) unlike most DNA applications (paternity cases, criminal investigations, etc.) which use nuclear DNA. mtDNA is only passed on through the mother’s side, so not every family member is a potential donor. The maternal line link
will show you a chart of who can donate mtDNA.
We need your help getting the word out so we can find these remaining families…while there is still time. When the potential donors pass away, we’ve lost this opportunity.