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James "Jimmy" Hart Jr. was an American serviceman who was declared Missing in Action on December 2, 1950 during the Korean War. His remains were returned to US custody on July 27, 2018 and identified April 14, 2020.

Background

Jimmy Hart Jr. was born on April 8, 1925 in Winterfield, Texas to James and Devona Heart. In 1949, he married Ruth Micher and the two were known to attend Winterfield Methodist Church together.

Hart enlisted in the United States Army during the Korean War. His was service number is 38687287. He was assigned as a Master Sergeant First Class, specialty being Light Weapons Assault Infantryman, to Company C, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.

Korean War

The 7th Infantry Division took part of the Battle of Inchon AKA the Inchon Landing between September 10 and September 19, 1950. United States and South Korean forces invaded and had taken over the city of Inchon. This battle was a strategic victory for the United Nations Command that turned the tide of the war in their favor. It is likely Hart took part in this battle, as his regiment landed in Inchon, South Korea on September 15th, but the extent of his participation is unknown.

Hart's unit took part in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, which between November 27 and December 13, 1950, the North Korean Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army recovered northeastern Korea and caused the UNC to retreat. In the ensuing chaos, Hart was reported as Missing in Action on December 2, 1950. Over seventeen thousand of United Nations soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing and between forty-nine thousand and sixty thousand Chinese soldiers were killed or wounded.

Aftermath

Hart was not among the remains and Prisoners of War recovered by the end of the Korean War on July 27, 1953. He was listed as presumed dead on December 31, 1953.

Hart was posthumously awarded the following awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

His name is featured at the Honolulu Memorial Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, Hawaii and the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He also has a grave at Winterfield Cemetery in his hometown.

Identification

On July 27, 2018, following a US and North Korea joint-summit between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un the month before, the North Korean government returned fifty-five boxes of unknown U.S. soldiers to U.S. custody. They arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on August 1, 2018. One of the boxes held remains recovered by the North Korean Korean People's Army at Sinhungri, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea. Scientists at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y-chromosome DNA (Y-STR) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis to identify the remains.

Based on these DNA analysis techniques and historical evidence, one set of the remains were identified as belonging to Jimmy Hart Jr. on May 28, 2020. The identification was announced on March 4, 2021. He was buried in Winterfield Cemetery on June 8, 2021.

Sources

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