The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Nehemiah E. Butler Pocomoke City, Maryland, will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery. In late December 1950, Butler and elements of Company C, 19th Infantry Regiment (IR), 24th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed near Seoul, South Korea, when their unit was attacked by enemy forces. During the attempt to delay the enemy forces from advancing, Butler was separated from his unit while moving towards a more defensible position. Butler was reported missing Jan. 1, 1951.
On July 19, 1951, a Republic of South Korea military officer told U.S. Army Graves Registration Services (AGRS) personnel about the remains of a U.S. serviceman, who, died and was buried near the village of Chik-Tong-ni. The AGRS team located the remains. Due to lack of documentation, the remains were declared unidentified. The remains were interred as unknown at the U.N. Military Cemetery in Tanggok, and were later disinterred and transferred to the Central Identification Unit (CIU) in Kokura, Japan. In 1955, the remains were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), commonly known as the “Punchbowl”.
In 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) re-examined records and concluded that with advances in technology, the possibility of identification of some of these unknowns buried in the Punch Bowl now existed.
In the identification of Butler’s remains, scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, dental and chest radiographs comparison, and mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched his sister.
Today, more than 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.