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Philip Thomas Hoogacker was an American Army soldier who was declared missing in action on July 27, 1950 during the Korean War. His remains were recovered during Operation GLORY and identified April 16, 2021.

Background

Philip Hoogacker was born on February 10, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan to Walter and Alta Hoogacker. At some point in his life, he enlisted in the United States Army. By the time of the Korean War, he was a Private First Class of Company D, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment.

On July 27, 1950, the 29th Infantry Regiment attempted to halt the North Korean People's Army (KPA) invasion of the Korean peninsula. While the 1st Battalion was ordered to halt the KPA at the town of Anui, South Korea, the 3rd Battalion was ordered to halt the KPA at the village of Hadong, South Korea. The American defense proved to be a disaster; the 1st Battalion were attacked on three sides with heavy artillery and mortar fire and were unable to stop the advancing enemy columns and were forced to pull back to Chinju, South Korea to avoid complete destruction.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Battalion was ambushed and pinned in a crossfire, leaving most of their command staff killed. All that was left were inexperienced lower-ranking soldiers, who were forced to retreat. The 3rd Battalion alone suffered 495 total casualties out of 925 soldiers.

Hoogacker was last seen in Anui after receiving first aid for a minor shrapnel wound. According to DPAA historians, he was then captured by the KPA and forcibly marched to Seoul, South Korea and then to Pyongyang, North Korea where he died as a prisoner of war in September of 1950.

Aftermath

After the end of the Korean War on July 27, 1953, Operation GLORY took place. Between September 1 to October 30, 1954, North Korea turned over 4,200 remains, nearly 3,000 of which were determined to be American. Hoogacker's remains were among them, but they were not identified as his. As a result, the remains were simply identified as "X-16833." "X-16833" and 847 other unidentified remains would be buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hoogacker was declared non-recoverable on February 26, 1954. 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 6 the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu and at the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Identification

In April of 2018, the DPAA disinterred "X-16833" as part of Phase 1 of the Korean War Identification Project. These remains were transferred 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, "X-13631" was identified as Philip Thomas Hoogacker on April 16, 2021. He was buried with full military honors and with his parents on July 23, 2021 at Parkview Memorial Cemetery in Livonia, Michigan.

Sources

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