Remains of Buffalo native killed during Korean War identified

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo native who died during the Korean War has been identified through remains.

19-year-old Army Cpl. Robert Agard, Jr. was a member of 2nd Platoon, 24th Reconnaissance Company, 24th Infantry Division. On July 19, 1950, he was reported missing in action while conducting a night recon patrol with his unit in Taejon, South Korea.

More than five years after this, Agard had been declared non-recoverable. But at the time, officials didn’t know his remains had already been found.

In December of 1950, months after Agard went missing, his remains, along with those of two other members of his unit, were found close to a nearby village.

Still, it wasn’t until decades later that his remains could be identified.

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Known as “Unknown X-311 Taejon,” Agard’s remains were buried, along with the remains of other unidentified service members, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii — a Honolulu location known as the “Punchbowl.”

Nearly 70 years after his death, a new opportunity for his identification began. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) historians and anthropologists proposed a plan to disinter and properly identify the 652 sets of Korean War remains at the Punchbowl.

Agard’s remains were part of that plan. In June 2019, they were sent to a lab within the state, and with mitochondrial DNA analysis, along with dental, anthropological, and circumstantial evidence, the remains were positively tied to him.

Now, a rosette will be placed next to his name at the Punchbowl’s Courts of the Missing — an indication that Agard has been accounted for.

Although he was accounted for in September 2020, his family was only recently fully briefed on his identification.

This coming May, Agard will be buried in Elmira.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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