DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Department of Defense said Tuesday a Florida soldier killed in the Korean War was recently identified and will be returned to his family for buried with full military honors in Dayton.
According to the U.S. Army, Corporal Roy J. Hopper was killed in action on July 31, 1950, while assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion 19th Infantry Regiment.
Hopper was killed when his battalion, along with another battalion, were engaged in a fighting withdrawal against North Korean forces in Chinju, South Korea.
The Army says the area was controlled by enemy forces following the battle preventing a search for his remains. Hopper’s remains were never identified.
In early 1951, the graves at Masan cemetery were exhumed and the unknowns were transferred to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification unit in Kokura, Japan. Remains that could not be identified were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, including “Unknown X-119.”
After thorough historical and scientific analysis, it was determined that X-119 could likely be identified. After receiving approval, X-119 was disinterred on Jan. 9, 2017 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Hopper’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his brother and sister, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and circumstantial evidence.
According to the DOD, 7,709 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.
Hopper’s name is recorded on 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.
Army Cpl. Roy J. Hopper, 21, of Miami will be buried April 6 in Dayton.