- Associated Press - Thursday, June 21, 2018

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - The remains of U.S. Army Pfc. David Baker, who had been missing in action since November 1950, will finally be buried Saturday at Evergreen Memorial Park in Hobart.

Mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched him with his family, was used, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence, the Defense Department said.

Baker, who was 18 when he went missing more than 67 years ago, was captured and killed during the Korean War.

His younger brother, Victor Baker, 80, remembers his brother as very generous.

Victor Baker said David was six or seven years older and taught Victor and his younger brother how to swim in a “mud hole” near their home on Gary’s east side.

David looked out for his younger brothers, even buying them their first bike and some ice skates.

Then David Baker enlisted in the Army and went off to war. He was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. In late November 1950, he was stationed near Yongbyong, North Korea, the Defense Department said.

On Nov. 25, 1950, Baker’s unit was attacked by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Force and suffered heavy casualties, the Defense Department said. Baker was declared missing in action as of Nov. 28, 1950. Later reports indicated he was captured by the enemy.

In September and October 1954, an exchange of remains between the United Nations Command and North Korea didn’t include Baker’s remains.

“I never thought they would find anything,” Victor Baker said. “All we had was he was missing.”

“I always imagined as a kid that he was somewhere hiding, that he was still alive somewhere,” Victor Baker said, but that hope faded.

David Baker’s niece, Michele Brown, has been helping with the arrangements.

“It was a closure, finally, after 67 years” to get the call in late January that the remains had been identified, she said.

The military has no photos of Baker.

A Jan. 6, 1954, story in The Hammond Times said Baker was among 21 Army personnel missing in action for more than a year and presumed dead. He was given a “presumptive date of death” of Dec. 31, 1953, to settle death benefits and other legal issues.

His remains were included in 34 boxes of remains sent to the Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu. One box was reportedly exhumed from Tongju-ri, a village near Prisoner of War Camp 5, the Defense Department said. However, no returning POWs identified Baker as a prisoner.

Today, 7,702 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, the Defense Department said.

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Source: The (Northwest Indiana) Times, https://bit.ly/2K7owyo

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Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com


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