Second Michigan soldier identified among remains from North Korea

Both soldiers died days apart in combat near the Chosin Reservoir late in 1950
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 12:12 PM EDT
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LESLIE, Mich. (WJRT) - A second Michigan soldier is coming home for burial 71 years after a combat death in the Korean War.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Friday that the remains of 20-year-old Army Sgt. William E. Cavender of Leslie have been identified.

Cavender was a member of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division when his unit was attacked near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on Nov. 28, 1950. The U.S. military was unable to recover his remains.

North Korea turned over 55 boxes of remains from American military members after a summit between former President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in 2018. Cavender was positively identified after further study at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and circumstantial evidence to identify Cavender’s remains.

He will be returned to Michigan at a later date for burial. His name will remain on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu with a rosette to signify that he was identified.

A Flint soldier also was among the remains turned over by North Korea in 2018. Army Cpl. Dale W. Wright was 19 when his unit also was attacked near the Chosin Reservoir in December 1950 a few days after Cavender’s death.

Wright will be returning to Michigan soon for burial at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.

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