SOLDIER ACCOUNTED FOR: Scientists ID remains of Grant, MI soldier killed in Korean War

PFC Thomas Smith.png
U.S. Army Pfc. Thomas A. Smith, 17 of Grant, Michigan.
U.S. Army Pfc. Thomas A. Smith, 17 of Grant, Michigan.
Posted at 4:28 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 04:01:31-04

WASHINGTON D.C. — The remains of a soldier from Grant, Michigan, who died in the Korean War, were identified September 22, 2023, according to a news release by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

During the summer of 1950, U.S. Army Pfc. Thomas A. Smith, 17, was a member of 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Company A, 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion, 24th Infantry Industry when he was reported missing in action on August 2 when his unit took part in defensive action near Chinju at the southern end of the Korean Peninsula.

When the battle concluded, Pfc. Thomas' remains could not be recovered and there was no evidence that he was ever a prisoner of war so the U.S. Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953.

In late 1950, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps (AGRSG) was responsible for recovering, identifying and repatriating those lost during the Korean War. They recovered a set of remains designated as Unknown X-5077 Tanggok near the village of Hwagye, South Korea.

Extensive analysis by the Central Identification Unit-Kokura in Japan was unable to identify X-5077 the remains were declared unidentifiable. In February 1956, the remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, with other Korean War Unknowns.

In July 2018, the DPAA proposed a plan to disinter 652 Korean War Unknowns from the Punchbowl. In March 2019, DPAA disinterred X-5077 as part of Phase One of the Korean War Disinterment Plan and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Smith’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Smith will be buried in Bridgeton Township Cemetery in Grant on a date to be determined sometime this summer.

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