Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The remains of two U.S. servicemembers who went missing during conflicts in Asia have been identified and returned to their families for burial.

Army Sgt. Bernard Fisher of Wilkes Barre, Pa., who went missing during the Korean War, was buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, according to Defense Department statements released Thursday. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael Judd of Cleveland - missing from the Vietnam War - was buried at the cemetery Monday.

Fisher went missing in January 1951 after elements of the 19th Infantry Regiment were attacked by enemy forces northeast of Seoul, South Korea, the statements said. While trying to stem the enemy advance, Fisher and his unit moved toward a more defensible position when the unit suffered heavy casualties. Fisher was reported missing.

The Army sergeant was one of four unknowns recovered north of Shaha-dong in July 1951 by the U.S. Army Graves Registration, the statement said. He was interred as such at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the “Punchbowl,” until 2012 when the remains were exhumed for scientific analysis identification.

Due to advances in technology, Fisher was accounted for on March 14, 2013, according to the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office website. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used circumstantial evidence, dental comparisons and a chest radiograph in making the identification.

Judd was reported missing after the CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter he was riding in was shot down in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, on June 30, 1967, the statements said. While attempting to insert a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance team into hostile territory, Judd’s helicopter took enemy fire and crashed. Judd and four other crewmembers were killed.

In 1993, a joint U.S./Vietnam team interviewed local villagers who claimed to have discovered a crash site in the nearby forest while searching for firewood, the statement said. The team surveyed the area but found aircraft wreckage not consistent with a CH-46A.

Subsequent teams continued to investigate the loss, the statement said. In 1999, the team interviewed the same local villagers who provided relevant case information. The team surveyed the crash site again, this time uncovering wreckage consistent with a U.S. military helicopter.

The crash site was excavated in 2012, turning up aircraft wreckage and human remains. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command scientists and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory identified Judd’s remains Feb. 27 using circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons.

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Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.

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