Killed in the Korean War, North Carolina soldier returns home after his body is identified over 50 years later

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY – The family of a North Carolina man, who went missing in the Korean War, will now find some remnants of closure after their relative was identified by military officials following a 2004 excavation in North Korea.

Eugene J. Colley was 48-years-old when he went missing during the Korean War, more than 50 years later, the Army Sergeant 1st Class will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sergeant Colley’s family did not want to speak with media, but the Department of Defense said that his family was notified of his finding after the DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System were able to identify his body in 2016.

These military medical officials and scientist used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA and Y chromosome (Y-STR) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as circumstantial and anthropological evidence, which matched his records, according to the DOD press release.

The U.S. Army pronounced Sergeant Colley dead in 1953, after he went missing on Dec. 2, 1950. He and over 3,000 U.S. and South Korean forces were deployed to the Chosin Reservoir to engage an overwhelming number of Chinese forces.

Colley was not accounted for by his 31st Regimental Combat Team, and was listed as missing in action (MIA). He was listed killed in action (KIA) after his name did not appear on list of prisoners held by North Korean and Chinese forces during the war. Repatriated Americans also could not provide information on his where-a-bouts in the Korean Peninsula.

Colley’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from the Korean War.  A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, according to DOD officials.

7,713 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.