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Robert Ray "Bobbie" Daniels was an American Army soldier who was declared missing in action on August 16, 1950 during the Korean War. His remains were recovered on February of 1951 and identified September 21, 2020.

Case

Robert Daniels was born on September 8, 1932 to Ray and Ethel Daniels in Pike County, Kentucky. From Bedford, Virginia, he enlisted in the United States Army. After training, he was assigned to be a Private First Class in the Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

Between August and September of 1950, the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Calvary Division saw heavy fighting between them and the North Korean People's Army (KPA) near Waegwan, South Korea. On August or September 16, 1950 (sources differ), Daniels was reported missing in action during the fighting, although specific details are currently unknown. He was declared dead on May 1, 1953, just before the Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. He was memorialized in Court 4 of the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii and at the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Between February and March of 1951, at least partial sets of remains was recovered from the area where Daniels went missing. After a preliminary examination at Tanggok United Nations Military Cemetery, an identification could not be made on the remains and they were buried as "Unknown X-412 Tanggok" and "Unknown X-817 Tanggok," respectively. The remains were later transported with all of the unidentified Korean War remains and buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In 2017, the family of a missing soldier who disappeared where Daniels went missing requested both "X-412" and "X-817" be disinterred for comparison with their family member. Further research by a DPAA historian and forensic anthropologist determined both sets of remains could possibly be associated with Daniels, among others. "X-412" and "X-817" were disinterred August 20, 2018, and sent to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam, Hawaii for analysis.

Using dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, the remains were identified as belonging to "Bobbie" Daniels on September 21, 2020. He was buried with full military honors on May 22, 2021 at Greenwood Cemetery in Bedford, Virginia.

Sources

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