Editors Note: The use of forensic science to remains has now become a staple of many investigative agencies, specifically those involved in criminal justice.
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Master Sgt. Robert V. Layton, U.S. Army, of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is to be buried today at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.
Layton was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division (making up the 31st Regimental Combat Team). The RCT was engaged against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces along the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. After intense fighting from Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 1950, the battalion was forced to abandon its position, leaving its dead behind. Layton was listed as missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, and was later presumed killed in action.
Between 2002 and 2004, joint U.S. and Democratic People's Republic of North Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, seven times excavated a mass burial site associated with the 31st RCT along the eastern shore of the Chosin Reservoir. The team found human remains and other material evidence, including Layton's identification tag and part of his billfold containing a newspaper clipping reporting on a Bronze Star being awarded to "Sgt. Robert Layton" circa 1944.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
Article sponsored by criminal justice online and police officer turned law enforcement writer.