Archaeology

published : 2023-09-23

Detroit Army Corporal Killed in Korean War Identified 73 Years Later

Cpl. Lewis W. Hill, 18, went missing in action in July 1950

A vintage photo of a young Army corporal standing proudly in his uniform, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The remains of an 18-year-old Army corporal from Detroit, who was killed in the Korean War in 1950, have been identified, officials announced on Thursday.

Cpl. Lewis W. Hill was accounted for on May 22 by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency after scientists used dental and anthropological analysis and other methods to identify his remains.

Hill went missing in action in July 1950 when his unit had to retreat from the Taejon area in South Korea. Unfortunately, his body could not be recovered at that time.

The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on December 31, 1953, more than three years after Hill's disappearance.

A group of scientists carefully examining dental remains in a laboratory, taken with a Nikon D850

During the fall of 1950, after regaining control of Taejon, the Army started recovering remains from the area. These remains were temporarily interred in a United Nations military cemetery.

Among the remains, a tentative association was made with Hill, but definitive proof of his identity could not be found, labeling the remains as unidentifiable.

Eventually, the remains were sent to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

In July 2019, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred the remains and conducted analysis in their laboratory, ultimately confirming the remains to belong to Corporal Lewis W. Hill.

A solemn moment as military personnel pay their respects at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III

Hill will be laid to rest in Imlay City, Michigan, at a future date, following his identification.

This marks the second set of remains from Michigan to be identified this month by the agency. Earlier, on September 8, the remains of Army Air Forces Flight Officer Chester L. Rinke of Marquette, Michigan, were also identified.

The journey to identify the fallen soldiers of past conflicts continues, bringing closure and honoring their ultimate sacrifice.