Friday, 06 06, 2014
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, June 7, in honor of a Kentucky soldier who died during the Korean War and whose remains were recently identified.
The funeral and interment of Cpl. Army Cpl. Richard Isbell will be held at noon Saturday, June 7, at Highlands Memorial Cemetery in Staffordsville, Kentucky. Gov. Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in lowering flags in tribute on that day.
According to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), Cpl. Isbell, 20, of Fishtrap, Kentucky, was assigned to Company H, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. While deployed near Popsudong, South Korea, the division was attacked by overwhelming Chinese forces, which caused Isbell’s unit to begin a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position. During this battle April 25, 1951, Isbell was reported missing in action.
However, according to DPMO, after the war Isbell was reported by returning prisoners of war as having been captured by Chinese forces and died in captivity June 30, 1951, from dysentery, in a POW camp known as Camp 5, in Pyoktong, North Korea.
In 1954, Chinese and North Korean Communist forces exchanged the remains of war dead with the United Nations forces during Operation Glory. In 1956, a military review board declared Isbell’s remains as unidentifiable. His remains were transferred to be buried as unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2013, due to advances in forensic technology, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) determined that the possibility of identifying the remains was likely at that time. The unknown remains were disinterred for analysis and possible identification.
In the identification of Isbell’s remains, scientists from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparisons and radiograph comparisons. Kentucky flag status information is available at http://governor.ky.gov/Pages/flagstatus.aspx.