U.S. Air Force Maj. John C.G. Kerr, 35, of Florida and U.S. Army Cpl. Richard Seloover, 17, of Illinois.

U.S. Air Force Maj. John C.G. Kerr, 35, of Florida and U.S. Army Cpl. Richard Seloover, 17, of Illinois. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced last week that it had identified the remains of a Korean War soldier and Vietnam War pilot.

U.S. Air Force Maj. John C.G. Kerr, 35, of Florida, reported missing during the Vietnam War, was accounted for April 24, and U.S. Army Cpl. Richard Seloover, 17, of Illinois, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Jan. 10.

On Aug. 22, 1967, Kerr was piloting an A-26A Invader attack aircraft on a solo nighttime armed reconnaissance mission over the Plain of Jars, Laos. After he failed to check in via radio and didn’t return from the mission, U.S. forces began an extensive electronic and visual search of the area, in which extensive enemy defenses were present, but could not find Kerr or the aircraft. Likely related to this incident, a New China News Agency broadcast reported the Aug. 22 shootdown of an American aircraft near Ban Ban and the deaths of its crew members.

Kerr was declared killed in action on June 4, 1971.

In September 1950, Seloover of Whiteside, Ill., was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He went missing in action along the Naktong River in the vicinity of Yongsan, South Korea, on Sept. 6, 1950. Because of intense fighting, his body could not be recovered at that time. The exact circumstances of his death were unknown, and the U.S. Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953.

On Dec. 29, 1950, Unknown Remains X-348 was recovered from an isolated grave near the village of Bon-Po, roughly 5 miles from where Seloover was reported lost. The remains could not be identified at the time and were buried as an unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

In June 2021, DPAA personnel disinterred Unknown X-348 and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

Scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as chest radiograph and other circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Seloover’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.

Seloover will be buried in Rock Falls, Ill., on a date to be determined.

As of May 2023, more than 81,000 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the total, approximately 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific region, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea (such as ship losses and known aircraft water losses).

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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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