U.S. Army Cpl. Ray K. Lilly of Matoaka, W.Va., went missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950.

U.S. Army Cpl. Ray K. Lilly of Matoaka, W.Va., went missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

U.S. Army Cpl. Ray K. Lilly of Matoaka, W.Va., who went missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950, in the vicinity of Unsan, North Korea, has been accounted for, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Friday.

Lilly, 18, was a member of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was identified on Sept. 26, 2023, according to DPAA.

Returning prisoners of war reported seeing Lilly at POW Camp #5. It was determined he died in captivity in January or February 1951.

In the fall of 1953, during Operation Glory — an American effort to repatriate the remains of United Nations Command casualties from North Korea at the end of the Korean War — North Korea turned over remains, including one set, designated Unknown X-14682. The remains were recovered from prisoner of war camps, United Nations cemeteries and isolated burial sites. Lilly could not be positively identified at the time, and the remains were buried as an Unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl crater in Honolulu.

In 2019 DPAA disinterred Unknown X-14682 from the Punchbowl as part of Phase 2 of the Korean War Disinterment Project. To identify Lilly’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Lilly’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Lilly will be buried in Princeton, W.Va., on a date to be determined.

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Joe Fleming is a digital editor and occasional reporter for Stars and Stripes. From cops and courts in Tennessee and Arkansas, to the Olympics in Beijing, Vancouver, London, Sochi, Rio and Pyeongchang, he has worked as a journalist for three decades. Both of his sisters served in the U.S. military, Army and Air Force, and they read Stars and Stripes.

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