Remains of local Korean War soldier identified 73 years later

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

The remains of a Miamisburg soldier killed during the Korean War will be be interred at a Miamisburg cemetery next week.

Army Pfc. Billy A. DeBord, a native of Miamisburg, was 18 years old and a member of F Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Eighth U.S. Army, according to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. He was reported missing in action July 25, 1950, while his unit was engaged in battle with the North Korean People’s Army near Yongdong, South Korea.

“Because of the fighting, DeBord’s body was not recovered and there was never any evidence that he was a prisoner of war,” the Army’s HRC said in a release Monday. “The Army issued a presumptive finding of death for him of Dec. 31, 1953.”

DeBord’s remain will be interred at Highland Memorial Cemetery at 723 Upper Miamisburg Road in Miamisburg on Nov. 11. West Carrollton’s Swart Funeral Home will perform graveside services preceding the interment.

The story of identifying DeBord started in April 1951, when the 565th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company recovered a set of remains designated Unknown X-945 near Yongdong. There was not enough identifying evidence to associate the remains with DeBord and were declared unidentifiable in April 1955.

The remains were sent to Hawaii where they were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In July 2018, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency proposed a plan to disinter 652 Korean War Unknowns from the Punchbowl. In Oct. 2019, the DPAA disinterred the Unknown X-945 remains — for laboratory analysis — from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

To identify DeBord’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as chest radiograph comparison.

DeBord was accounted for by the DPAA in April after his remains were identified using chest radiograph comparison as well as dental, and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

His name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl along with the others still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

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