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In 1950, three service members from New York's 21st Congressional District — Sgt. Howard R. Belden, Cpl. Clifford S. Johnson, and Cpl. Walter A. Smead — were serving in the 7th Infantry Division deployed to North Korea. That November, many units in the division suffered heavy casualties during the valiant, but deadly, battle at Chosin Reservoir.
The three brave heroes from Upstate New York were listed as missing in action after the battle, and for nearly 70 years, their families were left in the dark regarding the tremendous sacrifices that their relatives had made.
That was until 2018 when President Donald Trump, while serving in the White House, met with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and secured the return of more than 55 boxes that contained the remains of American veterans killed during the Korean War. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) team successfully identified Belden, Johnson and Smead from these boxes and notified their families so they could give them a proper burial.
These brave service members are among the thousands that the DPAA was able to identify through their diligent work and dedication to fulfilling our nation's promise of never leaving a fallen American…