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 72,934 American service members unaccounted for from World War II, 7,704 from the Korean War and 1,598 from the Vietnam War.
Army Cpl. Albert E. Quintero, from Los Angeles, killed during the Korean War, has been accounted for and will be buried May 14 in Long Beach.
In late November 1950, Quintero was a member of Battery D, 15th Anti-aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Self-propelled Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. American forces withdrew south while the Chinese continued to attack.
By December 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 wounded service members; the remaining soldiers had been either captured or killed in enemy territory. Because Quintero could not be accounted for by his unit after reaching Hagaru-ri, he was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950.
Quintero’s name did not appear on any prisoner of war list and no returning American prisoners reported him as a prisoner of war. Due to the lack of evidence of Quintero’s survival, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of Dec. 31, 1953.
Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled remains to the United States, which were determined to contain the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. On Dec. 15, 1993, the Central Identification Laboratory (CILHI, predecessor to DPAA), received 33 boxes of remains, 13 of which were reportedly recovered from the area of Tongju-Ri, Pyokdong County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, however in 2015, scientists determined the remains in one box were recovered from the area of Singhung-ri.
In September 2001, a joint U.S./North Korea recovery team excavated a location in the vicinity of Sinhung Village, Changjin County, North Korea, and recovered possible osseous remains.
To identify Quintero’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, as well as anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, and circumstantial evidence.
Today, 7,704 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams. Quintero’s name is recorded at the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
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 them on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.