West Virginia soldier from Korean War accounted for
A soldier from West Virginia who was lost in the Korean War has been accounted for.
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - A soldier from West Virginia who was lost in the Korean War has been accounted for.
The DPAA announced Army Cpl. Paul Mitchem, 20, of Avondale, West Virginia was accounted for on Feb. 11, 2021.
In July 1950, Mitchem was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.
Mitchem was reported missing in action on July 7 after his unit sustained heavy casualties while defending against the North Korean army’s advance near Ch’onan, South Korea.
The DPAA says his body was not recovered because his unit was forced to retreat, nor were any remains found that could be identified as Mitchem.
The Army issued a presumptive finding of death in December 1953, and he was declared non-recoverable in January 1956.
Shortly after recapturing territory around Ch’onan, remains were recovered in October 1950 and designated X-22 Taejon, according to the DPAA.
X-22 was unable to be identified by American Graves Registration Service and was determined unidentifiable in August 1954.
The remains were later transported with all of the unidentified Korean War remains and buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In June 2019, during Phase 2 of the Korean War Disinterment Project, X-22 was disinterred from the Punchbowl as part of the planned exhumation of all 53 burials originating from the United Nations Military Cemetery Taejon, and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii for analysis.
To identify Mitchem’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Mitchem’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Mitchem will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined.
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