U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Elmore Goodwin, an American soldier listed as missing in the Korean War, was laid to rest Monday at Arlington National Cemetery after his remains were identified by the U.S. military.
The identification of Goodwin’s remains is another success story in the U.S. military’s decades-long effort to identify the missing from America’s wars and the burial also takes place at a time when the United States is expecting North Korea to turn over as many as 200 remains believed to be those of missing service members from the Korean War.
Goodwin’s remains had been recovered in North Korea in 1998 and were identified last year by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
The 25-year-old Norfolk, Virginia native was reported missing in action on November 27, 1950, as his unit was engaged in combat against Chinese volunteer forces near Anju, North Korea.
When no information about Goodwin was reported by returning American POWs, the U.S. Army declared him deceased in 1953.
His remains were recovered in September 1998 by a joint U.S. and North Korean recovery team that had interviewed a witness who claimed to have found human remains in a cornfield.
After the remains were located they were transferred to the DPAA’s military laboratory in Hawaii that identifies the remains of all missing American service members.
Laboratory scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological analysis, and circumstantial evidence to identify the remains.
His remains were not conclusively identified until August 18, 2017, when they were turned over to his family for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
For weeks the United States has been preparing for North Korea to return as many as 200 sets of remains believed to be American service members who died during the Korean War.
The expected transfer is the result of the recent summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Ahead of a planned turnover, the U.S. military has sent 100 funeral cases to South Korea that could be used for the potential transfer of remains at Panmunjom along the Demilitarized Zone.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) estimates there are 7,697 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War, about 5,300 are believed to be located inside North Korea.
In the early 1990’s North Korea turned over 208 caskets to the U.S. that contained the remains of 400 individuals. From 1996 to 2005, 229 more remains were transferred to U.S. control.
Goodwin’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that his remains have been accounted for.