More than seven decades ago, Army Sgt. Lawrence J. Robidoux of Rhode Island was reported as missing in action during the Korean War after his unit withdrew from Ipsok, North Korea, according to military officials.
The 22-year-old of Cumberland was taken as a prisoner of war and “was eventually marched to POW Camp 5, Pyoktong, on the Yalu River, where he died of starvation on May 31, 1951,” according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
For the next 72 years, he would remain unaccounted for, DPAA said.
Now, thanks to “dental and anthropological analysis,” which included mitochondrial DNA analysis, his remains have been identified, DPAA said in a March 21 news release.
Just before he was reported missing in action, Robidoux of the U.S. Army’s 35th Infantry Regiment was holding a “defensive position near the village of Tong-dong,” DPAA said.
However, Robidoux’s unit was attacked by Chinese Communist Forces, forcing them to withdraw while under “heavy mortar and artillery fire,” according to DPAA.
Three years after being reported as missing in action in 1950, several POWs said Robidoux was imprisoned and died in May of 1951, DPAA said.
North Korea returned remains from the prisoner of war camp where Robidoux died in 1954, DPAA said. Robidoux’s remains, however, were not accounted for, and “he was determined non-recoverable in January 1956.”
DPAA said it sent the remains of Unknown X-14646 for analysis in 2018. On Jan. 24, 2023, those remains were identified as Robidoux’s.
Robidoux’s name is listed on the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii, where a rosette will be placed to show he’s been accounted for, according to DPAA.
Robidoux received a number of military decorations, including the Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal and United Nations Korea Service Medal, according to the 35th Infantry (Cacti) Regiment Association.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, DPAA said.
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