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Pete Conley is a United States Army soldier declared Missing in Action on December 12, 1950 during the Korean War. His remains were returned to US custody on July 27, 2018 and identified on June 5, 2020.

Military service

Pete Conley enlisted in the United States Army from his hometown of Chapmanville, West Virginia. His was service number is 17250439. He was assigned as a Corporal, specialty being Light Weapons Infantryman, to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.

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. Conley likely participated in this battle, but details of his participation are unknown.

Conley'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, Conley was reported as missing in action on December 12, 1950, although the actual date of his disappearance is unknown. 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

Conleywas 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.

Conley 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.

Identification

On July 27, 2018, following a U.S. 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, Pete Conley's remains were identified on June 5, 2020. The identification was announced on July 7, 2021. He will be buried in Pecks Hill, West Virginia at a to-be-determined date.

Sources

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