Honoring Our Fallen: CalVet honors members of the U.S. Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. Efforts continue to bring home those who went missing in action, including 72,977 American service members unaccounted for from World War II, 7,716 from the Korean War and 1,602 from the Vietnam War.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Cushman, of Springville, Utah, killed as a prisoner of war during the Korean War, has been accounted for and will be buried Nov. 11 in Cypress, California.
In November 1950, Cushman was assigned to Company A, 72nd Medium tank Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, on the western side of the Korean Peninsula, when the Division encountered waves of attacks by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF.)
The attack caused the Division to withdraw to the village of Kunu-ri. While in the village, a task force comprised of Cushman’s company and an infantry platoon were ordered to destroy a roadblock and eliminate enemy troops. The CPVF overwhelmingly attacked the unit and by the end of battle, Cushman could not be accounted for. He was reported missing in action as of Dec. 5, 1950.
Following the war, no lists provided by the CPVF or Korean People’s Army (KPA) listed Cushman as a prisoner of war, however two returning American prisoners reported that Cushman had died while being held by the CPVF. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of March 31, 1951.
In July and August 2002, a joint U.S. and KPA recovery team conducted a Joint Recovery Operation at a site, designated KN-0874, in Ung Bong Village, North Korea. Based on information provided by Korean witnesses, Mr. Man Hyon Ho, and Mr. Anh Il Chang, the site was excavated and possible human remains were recovered, along with personal effects and material evidence, all of which was sent to the DPAA laboratory for processing.
To identify Cushman’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, which matched a cousin and a niece, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence, which matched his records.
Today, 7,716 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.