Following the roar of thousands of motorcycles in Washington D.C. carrying riders during Memorial Day Weekend, honoring American prisoners of war and U.S. servicemen missing in action, the Department of Defense announced that remains of an American serviceman missing in action during the Korean War had been identified.
Army Pfc James R. Holmes of Warren, Ohio had been identified through DNA testing and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors on May 29 at Arlington National Cemetery. “Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and brother,” says a DOD press statement.
On December 1, 1950, Holmes was declared missing in action almost a year following an attack on his Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, which was pushing north through North Korea to the Yalu River.
In 1953 during the prisoner exchange known as Operation Big Switch, returning American service members conveyed that Holmes was captured by the Chinese military during the ambush against his unit three years prior in December. Holmes was imprisoned in a war camp named Camp 5, near Pyoktong, North Korea. He died in 1951. DOD says that between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains claiming to contain 350-400 U.S. servicemen who fought in the Korean War. At this point, 7,883 Americans remain unaccounted-for from that war.