The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a 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.
He is Master Sgt. Cirildo Valencio, U.S. Army, of Carrizo Springs, Texas. He will be buried on Aug. 4 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
Representatives from the Army met with Valencio's next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
Valencio was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division then occupying a defensive position near Unsan, North Korea in an area known as the "Camel's Head." On Nov. 1, 1950, parts of two Chinese Communist Forces divisions struck the 1st Cavalry Division's lines, collapsing the perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. In the process, the 3rd Battalion was surrounded and effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit. Valencio was one of the more than 350 servicemen unaccounted-for from the battle at Unsan.
In 2002, a joint U.S.-Democratic People's Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a burial site south of Unsan near the nose of the "Camel's Head" formed by the joining of the Nammyon and Kuryong rivers. The team recovered human remains.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
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) 699-1420 or (703) 509-1905.