Monday, May 5, 2008

Library Helps Find Macomb Korean War Soldier Families

The library was recently contacted by Mr. Harold Davis, a Korean War veteran, who volunteers his time to assist the Department of Defense in finding surviving family members of missing Korean War service personnel. When located, eligible family members of these missing soldiers are asked to donate reference DNA samples to a database which is used to identify unknown American military remains.

Of the 8,177 American troops who were declared missing during the three years of the war, there were three from Macomb County whose families had not been located to contribute DNA samples to the Department of Defense database. Mr. Davis hoped that local history and genealogy records in the library might lead him to family contacts for these three missing soldiers.

Using Mount Clemens Public Library's clipping files and newspaper backfiles on microfilm, Assistant Director Deborah Larsen was able to identify potential living family contacts for all three Macomb men. To date, Mr. Davis has been successful in reaching the families of two of the men and is still at work on the third.

Some Korean War unknown remains were interred in the National Cemetery of the Pacific, Oahu, Hawaii, and still wait to be identified. Others have been repatriated during joint recovery efforts that began on the Korean peninsula in 1996. As the family DNA database grows increasingly complete, officials hope that matches to these and other remains will be made. Once a positive identification is made through a DNA match, the remains can be released to families for burial with full military honors.

If you are interested in the DNA identification process, or if you are, or know of, a family member of a missing American service person, please visit the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office for more information. There are still nearly 100 missing men whose home of record was somewhere in Michigan whose families have not yet contributed to the database. You may be able to help bring them home.

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