Go to contents

“Missing Korean War Serviceman Remains found in China After 52 Years”

“Missing Korean War Serviceman Remains found in China After 52 Years”

Posted February. 27, 2005 23:12,   


The remains of a U.S. soldier unearthed in Dandong, China last June were identified as those of a missing U.S. fighter pilot from the Korean War in 1952.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced on February 26 that the investigation of the unearthed remains in Dandong last June identified them as those of captain Troy Cope, a pilot of a U.S. Air Force F-86 jet who became missing in September 1952

It’s the first time that the remains of the U.S. soldier who participated in the Korean War were found in China.

The Washington Post noted that the excavation of Cope’s remains backs the U.S. administration’s analysis of the Soviet Union (former)’s use of the U.S. pilots for information after capturing them.

Cope went missing when he was engaged in air combat with six MIG-15s after flying his F-86 Sabre jet to the “MIG Alley” area near the Yalu River.

Cope’s identification was accomplished by an American businessman who saw an identification tag on which his serial number and his name were carved in the Korean War Memorial Museum in Dandong, China in 1995 and reported it to the U.S. embassy to China.

After his report, the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) of the U.S. Department of Defense embarked on a search for an excavation of Cope’s remains but yielded no further leads, due to the Chinese government’s refusal to cooperate in a search.

Then, the DPMO found documents about Cope in the Russian archives in Podolsk.

The documents, that include statements by Russian pilots, also have detailed reports on the ground search carried by Russian and Chinese officials in Dandung where the Sabre jet crashed.

After the Chinese government’s approval of a search in October 2003, the DPMO sent an excavation team to the Dandung area last May and June, and discovered aircraft debris and human remains which were identified as those of Cope through DNA identification.

The U.S. Department of Defense said that it would hand over the remains to the family of Cope for a funeral in May.

Up until now, the number of missing Americans in the war total around 88,000, 8,100 of which are MIA (missing in action) from the Korean War.

The U.S. has so far unearthed 220 remains presumed to be American in North Korea, 20 of which have been identified. The U.S. offered about five million dollars to the North Korean government for five excavations.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com