What Happened To Your Veteran?
Many direct relatives of Korean War KIA/MIA veterans are not aware of the fact that they can find detailed information about their loved ones with little effort and at no or minimum cost. The U.S. Total Army Personnel Command office holds the Individual Deceased Personnel Records (293 File) for EVERY World War II and Korean War casualty (Army, Navy & Marine Corps) and EVERY Vietnam casualty (Army). According to researcher Lynna Kay Shuffield of Texas, there are some 400,000 files in a government warehouse. They are all on onion skin paper and stapled together with old rusty staples. They are extremely fragile and have to be handled with the greatest of care. One employee of the Command office said the records are "worthless and should be destroyed." Contrary to that employee's opinion, many family members are searching desperately for just this kind of opportunity to find out about their loved ones. You might be surprised to learn that these IDP records contain the following information: How a serviceman died? Where a serviceman died (map coordinates, longitude/latitude)? What the serviceman's unit assignment was? Who was the military escort to bring his body back? How or where a serviceman was originally buried (in the case of WWII or Korean war veterans)? What unit provided the military honors at graveside. Autopsy, anthropology studies, or the identification process used to identify a serviceman's remains? And more!
How can you get the facts about your loved one? Through the Freedom of Information Act. If you are the direct relative of a KIA/MIA and you want to pursue this avenue to find more information about your loved one, the paperwork is quite simple. All you have to do is fill out a one page form that asks these questions: Veteran's last name, first name, date of birth, date of death, service number, branch of service, and which war he served in. Then you sign the form and list the name, address, city, and phone number of the requestor. That's all!PLEASE NOTE This casualty office deals with the records of men who are missing or killed in action from the Korean War. If your vet was not declared missing or deceased as a result of the Korean War, this is NOT the office you need to find information about your Korean War vet. Personnel records on those who died after the war can be requested on Standard Form 180 (SF 180), which can be downloaded from http://www.nara.gov/regional/mpr.html. Several years ago, a large fire destroyed records at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. As a result, a number of records were destroyed, including a significant number of Korean War-era records. Contact NPRC to see if your vet's records survived the fire.
The Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library has the form and will gladly send you one to fill out. A word of caution, however. Some of the material found in the Individual Deceased Personnel Records can be very graphic. If you want a form, e-mail your snail mail address to Also, our website visitors should know that Major Keith Orage, Army Casualty, Alexandria, Virginia, contacted Lynnita's office in February to tell us that there is a quicker way to get a response to your MIA/KIA/POW query. He says that family members are encouraged to contact their Service Casualty Officer regarding any request for information. The Casualty Officer will obtain the information for the family or refer the family member to the agency who can best respond to the inquiry. "The Individual Deceased Personnel File," says, Orage, "is only a phone call away." Call your Service Casualty Officer for a copy:
The DPMO site also has an ASCII/TXT file version so you dont need ADOBE to read the names. Even some microsoft products will allow you to read a TXT file!
Correspondence to Museum
Just a few weeks back you provided me with an address to obtain Army records pertaining to my fathers death in the Korean War. Wrote late December and they arrived earlier this week. Very much appreciate the information you provided. Some of the material appeared to be copies of carbon copy forms which was difficult, but not impossible, to read. The information helped fill in gaps in my understanding of my father's death - thank you for taking the time to send that info to me.
Your site has made major improvements in just a few short weeks - well done.
Have a great day
Dear Lynnita, Just want to let you know that thanks to you, I have received the Individual Deceased Personnel File for Leonard Kravitz. I now have almost all the information that I have been searching for for so many years. The only information I do not have now, is what acts of bravery and heroism that Lenny performed to have been awarded the nation's second highest award, "The Distinguished Service Cross." I have heard that he had been nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor twice but never received it. The Department of the Army suggested I write to the National Personnel Records Center, which I will do, to find any further information explaining Lenny's courageous acts of heroism. Once I have that information I believe I canput this quest to rest and be happy in the knowledge that if no one else is around to remember him, at least I can do tha. I thank you so much for your help. - Mitch
Thank you so much for the information. I received my package from the Army and found out how my Uncle died during the battle of hill 314. Wonderful! Your page was a great find! Our family is so happy we know the circumstances of his death. It took nine weeks but was worth the wait. Again many thanks.
Thank you Greg!
I converted the form to a electronic version (Adobe PDF), thinking that maybe it would save you postage, and that you could offer it as a download. I have also made the letter into a PDF. A third file is both the form and the letter combined. Use any or all of them as you wish, let me know if this helps, or you need anything else.
- Greg Ensley
If you are not familiar with PDF, it is a universal file, that can be opened on any platform, Mac, PC, etc... You can get a copy of the acrobat reader for free from Adobe at www.adobe.com
News Release - 5/13/99 = N E W S R E L E A S E
= OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
= (PUBLIC AFFAIRS)
= WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301
= PLEASE NOTE DATE
May 13, 1999
REMAINS OF U. S. SERVICEMEN RECOVERED IN NORTH KOREA
Remains believed to be those of six American soldiers will be repatriated from North Korea across the demilitarized zone at Panmunjom Friday morning, Korea time.
A joint U.S.-North Korean team operating in Kujang County along the Chong Chon river, 100 miles north of Pyongyang for the past month recovered the remains. This area is the site of November 1950 battles between the U.S. Eighth Army (2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions) and Chinese communist forces. This is the first joint remains recovery operation in North Korea this year, and the 10th overall since these joint recoveries began in 1996. Since July 1996, these joint teams have recovered what are believed to be the remains of 35 soldiers. Three have been identified.
These operations are the result of negotiated agreements between the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United,States, led by the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. The DPMO has also obtained agreements to conduct archival research in North Korea of wartime military records that may relate to American POWs. Four such visits have been conducted since 1997, with hundreds of documents obtained which relate to American prisoners.
With more than 8,200 servicemen missing in action from the Korean War, the DPMO and the military Services have mounted a massive outreach effort to locate families of the missing from the Korean War and the Cold War.
The expanded outreach effort is to accomplish several goals.
First, family member reference blood samples are needed to compare to mitochondrial DNA sequences from recovered skeletal remains. Second, family members often possess personal or wartime documents that may aid in identifying an unaccounted-for serviceman. Finally, the military Services are seeking to keep family members updated on specific recovery operations.
If remains are recovered and identified, families will be asked to make decisions regarding the burial of the serviceman.
Beyond the Korean War outreach effort, families of Cold War unaccounted-for servicemen are also being sought. Through the work of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, the remains of 18 servicemen shot down during the Cold War have been recovered and identified, with more than 120 still unaccounted-for.
Each of the Services has established a toll-free number to keep these families fully informed on Korean War and Cold War remains recovery operations. Family members of these servicemen should contact the appropriate Service casualty office to provide their name, address and relationship to their loved one.
If the missing serviceman was in the Army, the number is (800) 892-2490. The Navy number is (800) 443-9298. The Air Force number is (800) 531-5501 and the Marine Corps number is (800) 847-1597. Families of civilians missing from these conflicts may contact the State Department at (202) 647-6769.
Current News Releases are online at:
What if Your Are Not Related to a KIA/MIA?
On December 5, 1991, Congress enacted Public Law 102-190, commonly referred to as the McCain Bill because it was sponsored by Senator John McCain of Arizona. The statute requires the Secretary of Defense to make available to the public -- in a "library like setting"-- all information relating to the treatment, location, and/or condition (T-L-C) of US personnel who are unaccounted for from the Vietnam, Korean and Cold War. Prior to release of T-L-C information, the Department of Defense is required to obtain written consent from the primary next of kin to release publicly such information.
The upshot If you are looking for information about a friend or buddy, just go ahead and send in your request - see what happens.
Copyright © 1998 Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library
Of Interest to Korean War Veterans
Copyright © 1998 Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library