WASHINGTON – The remains of an Ottumwa soldier who died while being held as a prisoner during the Korean War have been identified.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Wednesday that U.S. Army Cpl. Delbert L. White, 20, who served in D Company, 2nd Engineer (Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was accounted for on September 27, 2022.
The DPAA said White and many other soldiers were captured by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces on Dec. 1, 1950. Though conflicting reports were received about whether White died in February or March of 1951, the Army declared March 18, 1951, was the latest that he could have been alive.
In 1954, 550 sets of remains from a prisoner-of-war camp were returned to United Nations Command as part of Operation GLORY. Thirty-eight sets of remains were not able to be identified and White’s were among them. Those remains were buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu in 1956.
As part of the DPAA’s Korean War Disinterment project, in 2019 remains of the Unknowns were exhumed and transferred to a lab for analysis. Scientists used dental records, chest radiograph comparison, and mitochondrial DNA analysis to identify White’s remains.
The DPPA says White will be buried in Ottumwa, but a date has not yet been set.