Apodaca, Abie L.

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Abilesio L. Apodaca, 18, of Albuquerque, N.M., will be buried May 23, in Santa Fe, N.M. In early 1951, Apodaca and elements of Heavy Mortar Company, 9th Infantry Regiment (IR), 2nd Infantry Division (ID), were occupying a position in the vicinity of Hoengsong, South Korea, when their unit was overwhelmed by Chinese forces. This attack caused the 9th IR to withdraw south to a more defensible position. Apodaca was reported missing after the attack.

In 1953, returning American soldiers who had been held as prisoners of war reported that Apodaca had been captured by Chinese forces and died in a prisoner of war camp known as Camp 5 in Pyokdong, North Korea.

Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents, turned over at that time, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Apodaca was believed to have died.

From June 2-8, 1999, a joint U.S./D.P.R.K. team excavated a secondary burial site in an agricultural field east-northeast of Kujang, North Korea and recovered remains. These remains, and some of the remains turned over between 1991 and 1994, were identified as Apodaca.

In the identification of Apodaca’s remains, scientists from DPAA and Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his cousins.

Today, 7, 852 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American recovery 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 or call (703) 699-1420.

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  1. Korean War Ex-POW Association

    For Immediate Release

    May 19, 2015

    Remains of Korean War Veteran from Albuquerque to be Interred With Full Military Honors at Santa Fe National Cemetery Saturday, May 23 (12:45pm)

    SANTA FE, NM)—The remains of former Korean War Prisoner-of-War and Albuquerque South Valley native Abelicio “Abie” Apodaca will be interred with full military honors on Saturday, May 23 at 12:45 p.m. at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

    According to U.S. Army records, U.S. Army Corporal (CPL) Apodaca was taken prisoner after a three-day battle with Communist forces east of Chuam-ni, South Korea, in mid-February 1951. Records indicate he died at the Pyoktong POW Camp on March 31, 1951. CPL Apodaca was just eighteen years old.

    His remains were positively identified last November as part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to identify and return the remains of U.S. service members who were listed as Missing in Action during the Korean War, or who perished in captivity after being taken prisoner by North Korea.

    Apodaca’s sister Teresa Aguilar—his only living immediate family member–will be arriving from California for the service. Teresa never met her brother–she was born nine years after Abie arrived in Korea.

    New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Jack Fox is among the guests also scheduled to attend.

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