Korean War soldier set for burial after 66 years as an “unknown”

by Bill Costello
U.S. Army Human Resources Command

Army Pfc. Herschel M. Riggs, 18, a native of Rio Grande City, Texas, will be buried Saturday in Pearsall, Texas.

Riggs was a member of Headquarters Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action following combat operations against North Korean forces near Taejon, South Korea. Unable to locate his remains, he was declared deceased on July 31, 1953. 

In October 1950, his unidentified remains were recovered and buried in the National Memorial of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 2017, the remains were disinterred for analysis. 

To identify Riggs’ remains, scientists from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. 

For more information about this service, contact Hurley Funeral Home, 830-334-3361.

For more information about U.S. Army Human Resources Command, visit: www.hrc.army.mil.

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