The matter of Americans "missing in action" from previous wars continues to
be plagued by the work of amateurs whose flawed "analysis" tends to find it's
way into general circulation where it becomes final truth. The following analysis by
the Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office
(DPMO) lays waste to one amateur effort.
Background. Several hundred unknowns from the Korean War are
buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also referred to as the Punch
Bowl Cemetery. At the end of the Korean War, the Chinese and North Koreans turned
over to the US 4,167 containers of remains. A "researcher and author,"
Larry Jolidon compiled names resulting from forensic work on the returned remains, then
compared the names of missing from Korea and determined that 239 of the missing were
buried in Punch Bowl. It's not that simple. A review of ALL THE FACTS shows
that Jolidon's "analysis" suffers from the fatal flaws of most amateur
analysis: simplicity and blind acceptance of lists.
The following is the text of the DPMO analysis of
Jolidon's claims (the link takes you to the original article).
DPMO White Paper
Punch Bowl 239
A private researcher, reporter and author, Mr. Larry
Jolidon, compiled 239 names which he believes may be Korean War unaccounted-for servicemen
whose remains can be identified in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific [NMCP],
also referred to as the Punch Bowl. Mr. Jolidon took two documents that were in the public
domain, compared the names in them, and found 239 names common to both. He offered a
tentative conclusion-that the 239 were possibly buried as Unknowns in the Punch Bowl.
Records from the U.S. Army Mortuary in Kokura, Japan, indicate otherwise. This paper
examines these documents and explains the final disposition on the remains associated with
the 239 names cited by Mr. Jolidon.
First document: the PMKOR - Personnel
Missing, Korea - contains the names of 8,200 servicemen lost during the Korean War. Forty
of the PMKOR names are resolved cases, but are retained for historical purposes. The other
8,160 are indeed missing men, whether killed in action [KIA], missing in action [MIA],
dead as prisoners of war [POW], or non-battle deaths [NBD].
Second document: the "Alphabetical Roster
of Evac's Received Under Operation Glory as Named Cases" contains 1,934 names
derived from Chinese and North Korean transmittal forms received during Operation Glory
from September through December 1954. During this period, the Chinese and North Koreans
returned a total of 4,167 containers of human remains. After forensic examination, these
proved to be the remains of 4,219 different individuals. Identification efforts followed.
By the time the Kokura facility closed on 29 February 1956, 2,944 of the 4,219 individual
sets of remains had been found to be American, and all but 421 of these were identified by
name. Later, before burials occurred at the Punch Bowl NMCP in Hawaii, five more American
remains were identified. This left 416 American remains returned during Operation Glory
which were unidentified and buried as Unknowns in the Punch Bowl. It is important to
understand that the "Alphabetical Roster" is only a transcription of information
provided by the Chinese and North Koreans. To the best of our knowledge, the
"Alphabetical Roster" does not represent forensic work by the Chinese and North
Koreans, and it certainly does not represent work done by the U.S. Government. Only 858 of
the 1,934 names associated with specific sets of American remains by the Chinese and North
Koreans on the "Alphabetical Roster" proved to be correct.
This brings us to the remains associated with the 239
names cited by Mr. Jolidon. For 186, there is no possible linkage with any Unknown at the
Punch Bowl NMCP. First, 176 [or 73.6 percent of the 239] were successfully identified as
someone else and shipped to cemeteries throughout the United States for burial. Each of
the other 10 sets of remains [4.2 percent of the 239] tells a slightly different story, as
follows: five were not forwarded to the United States-of these, four were cited as
non-American persons of Asiatic descent, and one as British. Two other sets of remains
were, in fact, identified as being the persons named on the "Alphabetical
Roster" and brought home for burial. Coincidentally, a different person of a very
similar name still appears on PMKOR-a possible source of honest confusion. Two cases stand
as "unconfirmed." We do not have specific information on their identification or
other disposition-our records for Operation Glory are incomplete with respect to those
names. But we do know that these are not among the 416 Operation Glory Unknowns found to
be American and buried in the Punch Bowl NMCP. The final case, here, is of a serviceman
identified by name and returned to the United States-he is one of the 40 resolved cases
mentioned above which are retained on PMKOR for historical purposes.
We now move to the 53 cases associated with Unknown
remains in the Punch Bowl NMCP. Each was found to be an American who could not be
identified by name. They fall into two sets. For 33 [13.8 percent of the 239], forensic
work done at Kokura excluded the name provided by the North Koreans-we do not know who
these men are, but can say that the remains do not match the names cited, for reasons such
as size, age, dentition, or race. For the other 20 [8.4 percent of the 239], there is
simply not enough forensic evidence to either confirm or exclude the possibility that the
"Alphabetical Roster" names associated with these remains are correct.
Summary: Of the 239 cases of Korean War
unaccounted-for servicemen cited by Mr. Jolidon, fully 186 have achieved some sort of
final disposition. All but three sets of these remains were determined to be individuals
other than those suggested by the Chinese and North Koreans during Operation Glory. Of the
remaining 53, working records show that 33 cannot be the names originally
cited-altogether, we can exclude 91.6 percent of the remains from the name associations as
provided by the Chinese and North Koreans. For the other 20 names there is simply not
enough forensic evidence to confirm or exclude the possibility that the names offered by
the North Koreans and Chinese match the associated remains.
End quote from DPMO white paper regarding Mr. Jolidon's flawed analysis.