The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced July 1 that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. Joseph M. Snock Jr. of Apollo, Pennsylvania, will be buried July 6, in Arlington National Cemetery. In late November 1950, Snock was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), while fighting enemy forces east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Nov. 29, 1950, Snock and elements of the 31st RCT, historically known as Task Force Faith, withdrew from their positions to consolidate with the rest of the 31st RCT south of the P’ungnyuri Inlet at the reservoir. During heavy fighting the day after consolidation, Snock was reported missing in action.
In 1953, as part of Operation Big Switch, returning U.S. service members reported Snock had been captured and died from malnutrition and lack of medical care in December 1950. His remains were not among those returned by communist forces in 1954.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea gave the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Snock was believed to have died.
In the identification of Snock, scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, dental comparison, and two forms of DNA analysis; mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister and brother, and Y-STR DNA, which matched his brother.
Today, 7,846 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American recovery teams.