The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, recently accounted-for from the Korean War, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Cpl. William R. Sadewasser, 24, of Wellsville, New York, will be buried September 23 in Ulysses, Pennsylvania. In late November, 1950, Sadewasser was a member of Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was engaged by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 wounded service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured or killed in enemy territory. Because Sadewasser could not be accounted for by his unit at the end of the battle; he was reported missing in action as of Nov. 28, 1950.
Sadewasser’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war lists, however one returning American prisoner of war reported that Sadewasser had died on Nov. 28, 1950. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased.
Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hoped to recover American remains that remained north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Sadewasser’s remains were not included, and he was declared non-recoverable.
During the 32nd Joint Recovery Operation in 2004, recovery teams conducted operations on the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, on Hill 1221. During the excavation, the recovery team recovered possible human remains of at least 11 individuals.
To identify Sadewasser’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,727 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams. Sadewasser’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.