Recovering the Korean War Dead, 1950–1958: Graves Registration, Forensic Anthropology, and Wartime Memorialization

During the Korean War, the American Graves Registration Service, U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, developed an innovative system to recover, identify, and repatriate deceased U.S. servicemen. In doing so, the U.S. armed forces returned their dead to the United States during major combat operations for the first time in military history. This article describes and analyzes the handling of the Korean War dead. It concludes that the wartime program exemplified the country's adaptation to limited war during a time of prosperous insecurity.