Fallen Korean War soldier laid to rest in hometown at last

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IRVINGTON, Ky. (KT) - A Breckinridge County soldier who was killed in the Korean War, and whose remains were recently identified, was laid to rest Wednesday in his hometown.


Army Pvt. Robert J. Sipes, Jr., 19, an Irvington native, was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.  He was killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950, during heavy fighting between the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces and the 7th Cavalry Regiment near the village of Unsan, North Korea.


His remains were processed through a 7th Cavalry Regiment Collection Station on Dec. 1, 1950 and interred at the United Nations Military Cemetery Pyongyang on Dec. 2, 1950.


On Aug. 17, 1954, the United Nations Command and North Korea, along with China, reached an agreement regarding the recovery and return of the deceased. The agreement, known as Operation Glory, resulted in the turnover of 4,200 sets of remains to the UN, including more than 400 sets reportedly disinterred from Pyongyang. One set of remains, designated N-16678, could not be identified and was subsequently interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu (known as the Punchbowl), as an Unknown.


In June 2017, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred those remains for identification, which was made on Oct. 23, 2018.


To identify Sipes, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.


Funeral services for Pvt. Sipes were held at Alexander Funeral Home in Irvington, followed by interment at Bethel Cemetery in Bewleyville.

 

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