Korean War POW Remains Returned
From Various Sources:
A fallen POW’s remains are returned to his home after 65 years. His body proceeded through Arlington, MA where citizens came out to honor him.
On Feb. 12, 1951, Cpl. Ronald M. Sparks, United States Army, became missing in action (MIA) while his unit was clearing a road block held by the opposing forces in the vicinity of Hoengsong, Republic of Korea. A repatriated American Prisoner of War reported that the 19-year-old PFC Sparks died while in captivity at POW Camp 1, Changsong, Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea on May 26, 1951. Through DNA testing his remains were positively identified.
In 1954, United Nations and communist forces exchanged the remains of war dead in what came to be called “Operation Glory.” All remains recovered in Operation Glory were turned over to the Army’s Central Identification Unit for analysis. The remains they were unable to identify were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 1999, due to advances in technology, the Department of Defense began to re-examine records and concluded that the possibility for identification of some of these unknowns now existed. The remains designated X-14082 were exhumed on Dec. 7, 2015, so further analysis could be conducted.
In the identification of Sparks’ remains, scientists from The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analyses, which matched Sparks’ records, as well as circumstantial evidence. In this, Spark’s nephew, Bob Sparks, fulfilled his father’s dying wish to find his late brother.
His remains arrived at Boston’s Logan Airport and were escorted past his childhood home in Cambridge. From Cambridge, the escort continued to Devito Funeral Home, 1145 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA where police, fire and citizens came out to honor the fallen war hero.
A wake will be held at Devito Funeral Home on Thursday, August 18th from 5-8:00 p.m. Graveside services will be conducted at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA on Friday, August nineteenth.
According to DPAA 7,802 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 recovery teams.