18-year-old Soldier Identified After He Went Disappeared During Korean War

The U.S. military agency announced on Friday that they have discovered the remains of a brave 18-year-old soldier from West Virginia who fought in the Korean War. This remarkable discovery comes more than seven decades after he went missing, bringing closure to his family and honoring his sacrifice.

U.S. Army Cpl. Ray K. Lilly, a brave 18-year-old soldier from Matoaka, West Virginia, vanished during combat on November 2, 1950. He was a member of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, who were engaged in fierce fighting in Unsan, North Korea at the time of his disappearance. Although some prisoners of war claimed to have spotted Corporal Lilly at prisoner of war camp #5, authorities were unable to ascertain his exact location.

In 1953, the United States received a collection of remains from North Korea, which included an unidentified set of remains known as “Unknown X-14682.” Eventually, these remains were laid to rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

In 2018, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), a military agency dedicated to accounting for American missing personnel, unveiled a proposal to exhume the remains of 652 unidentified service members from the Korean War. One year later, the agency selected Unknown X-14682 for laboratory testing. Through the utilization of dental records, anthropological analysis, mitochondrial DNA analysis, and circumstantial evidence, investigators successfully identified the unknown remains as those of Corporal Lilly in September of the following year.

Lilly passed away in either 1950 or 1951 while being held captive in a Korean prisoner of war camp, according to DPAA. His family has been informed of his death, and he will be laid to rest in Princeton, West Virginia.

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The remains of World War II airmen from Chicago and Michigan have been identified this week, finally bringing closure after eight decades of being reported missing. In a significant development, the DPAA has successfully identified the remains of 29 World War II veterans, 5 Korean War veterans, and one Vietnam War veteran since the beginning of 2024. This remarkable effort highlights the ongoing commitment to honor and remember those who bravely served in these historic conflicts.

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