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Remains of 19-year-old Michigan soldier killed in Korean War identified

The American flag (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell)

The remains of a Michigan soldier killed in the Korean War have been identified 69 years after he went missing in action.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Monday that the remains of Army Pfc. John A. Shelemba, 19, of Hamtramck, were identified in September.

Shelemba, a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, was reported missing in action July 20, 1950, while defending Taejon, South Korea.

After the battle, his remains could not be recovered. Remains designated Unknown X-251 Taejon were recovered after the war and were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In October 2018, DPAA disinterred Unknown X-251 from the Taejon and sent the remains to the laboratory for analysis.

Shelemba’s remains were identified using dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

Today, 7,602 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Shelemba’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 he has been accounted for. Shelemba will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.


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