Today those at McCarran were honored to be a part of the transfer of Army Pfc. Manuel M. Quintana to his final resting place. Once an “unknown soldier,” now after nearly 67 years, PFC Quintana has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors in Boulder City, Nevada.
Pfc. Quintana, then 19, served in the Korean War and was declared missing in action on July 27, 1950. That December, unidentified remains were recovered from a grave near Chinuju-Hadong Highway. Over several years, many attempts were made to associate the unknown remains with unresolved casualties. However, with limited technology the remains could only be narrowed down to one of more than 40 possibilities. By September 1955, the remains were deemed “unidentifiable” and transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.
Nearly 50 years later, a family member requested the disinterment of specific unidentifiable remains based on new information. In May 2016, a grave was exhumed and the remains were sent to a laboratory where scientists and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, among other techniques, to match Quintana’s remains to his sister and a nephew.
Today, nearly 8,000 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.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving, visit the DPAA website at http://www.dpaa.mil
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