Fulton Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For

Cpl. Joseph Trepasso

Cpl. Joseph Trepasso

FULTON, NY – The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today (Oct. 28) that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Joseph Trepasso, 20, of Fulton, will be buried Nov. 5 in his hometown.

View obituary here.

Cpl. Joseph Trepasso
Cpl. Joseph Trepasso

According to a press release from the DPAA, in late November 1950, Trepasso was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces attacked the regiment and forced the unit to withdraw south to the Pungnyuri Inlet.

Many soldiers became surrounded and attempted to escape and evade the enemy, but were captured and marched to POW camps.

Trepasso was subsequently declared missing in action as a result of the battle that occurred Dec. 12, 1950.

Trepasso’s name did not appear on any POW list provided by the CPVF or the Korean People’s Army.

In 1951, the Army received information that Trepasso was killed in action Dec. 1, 1950.

Based on this information, a military review board amended his status to deceased Dec. 1, 1950.

In September 2001, a U.S. and Korean People’s Army recovery team conducted a Joint Recovery Operation in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, Changjin County, Changjin District, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea, based on information provided by two Korean witnesses.

During the excavation, the team recovered material evidence and possible human remains for at least seven individuals.

To identify Trepasso’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a brother and nephew, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence.

Today, 7,786 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 our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420


  1. Bless you Sir for your service, courage and the greatest sacrifice ever. You Sir are the true meaning of the word Hero. Our condolences to your family and hope that you rest peacefully for all eternity.

  2. Welcome home Soldier! “His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant…” Matthew 25:21. God Bless you and thank you for your service!

    Congratulations to all who investigated this case. The families of over 83,000 brave American heroes who remain missing from all our conflicts dating back to WWII should know that many are working to locate, recover, and help identify our lost heroes to achieve the closure for the families that they deserve.

    The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was finally disbanded after an avalanche of outrageous scandals involving phony staged arrival home ceremonies (referred to as “The Big Lie” by JPAC employees) and multiple investigations into fraud, waste and abuse of government funds, were exposed by NBC, CBS, Fox News, NPR, the AP, and Stars and Stripes. The American public and families of our lost heroes channeled their anger, frustration, humiliation, and feelings of betrayal to demand the immediate removal of those responsible for what the the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, testified was “Disgraceful”.

    A “new” Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) was created to replace the scandal plagued JPAC but the “new” director of DPAA quit in less than a year. Sadly, the government’s idea of the massive reform necessary was a superficial name change of the organization and re-shuffling the same poor executives and laboratory managers to new desks and titles in a brand new $89 million dollar building in Hawaii. Meanwhile, the JPAC/DPAA management mantra of “Delay, Deny, and Wait for the Families to Die” continues. The current response time for basic information to families and researchers under the Freedom of Information Act is over ONE YEAR! Federal law requires this information to be provided within 20 days, which DPAA routinely violates without consequences. Disgraceful!

    Due to antiquated methods at the JPAC/DPAA Lab and years of dysfunctional management there is a backlog of over 1,400 sets of remains of American service men and women sitting in cardboard boxes at DPAA awaiting identification right now. In 2015, the DPAA lab produced a grand total of 70 identifications at a gross cost of almost $2 million per identification and the Department of Defense decided to bypass DPAA and send cases to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Delaware for identifications. According to an internal JPAC report, the AVERAGE time for identification after remains were received in the DPAA/JPAC laboratory was ELEVEN YEARS! Disgraceful!

    Anyone with any management experience knows that the entire operation that was JPAC should have been deconstructed, brick by brick. Such needed massive reform simply did not happen. Just when families of our missing servicemen and women thought things could not get worse, it did. The same infectious disease of JPAC arrogance and lies to the families of American heroes took root all over again at DPAA. This incredibly dysfunctional organization continues and has been added to the VA Hospital, Dover Mortuary, Arlington Cemetery, and the Viet Nam Unknown misidentification debacles. Disgraceful!

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