Marty O'Brien's Casualty Book

Appendix I

 

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER

ARMY NON-BATTLE DEATHS, KOREA

Korean War veterans and groups who are seeking names to put on memorials now have another reference source to help them with their very important work.


Source Reference

The information contained in the enclosed roster of Army Non-Battle Deaths in the Korean War, 1950 through 1954, was obtained from the Department of the army under the Freedom of Information Act, release of this information being in the public interest. The data was released in microfiche form and reproduced to hard coy by the requester at the suggestion of the Department of the Army.

The names were extracted from DA Microfiche Reference No. 601-07, POW, MIA, Non-Battle Casualties, Korean Operation (all services) Korean War, March 31, 1954. The Army portion of the microfiche set (Fiche Nos. 001-0018) contains the names of 30,073 dead from all causes.

Although the title does not mention KIA ("Killed in Action") deaths, they are nevertheless included. However, only the "Non-Battle" information was extracted by the requester from the 1954 microfiche (see attached). The Department of the Army has advised that it does not maintain a validated hard copy printout of the information that is available to the public.


Content of Non-Battle Data

Insofar as it can be determined, the 1954 Army microfiche data identifies "Non-Battle" deaths as follows: (1) 2,389 casualties classified as DNB ("Died, Non-Battle"). Since that date, 18 DNB cases have been reclassified as HDWM ("Hostile, Died While Missing"); (2) three cases classified as MNB ("Missing, Non-Battle"); (3) 22 cases classified as FOD ("Finding of Death"). Since 1954, three FOD cases have been reclassified as KIA ("Killed in Action"); (4) One entry apparently is a duplication.

Thus, it appears that there are 2,392 Army "Non-Battle" deaths (DNB, MNB, FOD) identified in the microfiche; 60 cases less than the official Army statistic of 2,452 Army "Non-Battle" dead contained in Frank Reister’s Battle Casualties and Medical Statistics: U.S. Army Experience in the Korean War," published by the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, 1973.

Insofar as it is known, none of the names listed in the DA microfiche appear in any of the official Department of Defense rosters which are in the public domain. Nor are they contained in official rosters maintained by the National Archives. A list, however, does exist at The American Battle Monuments Commission. Appendix I is the list I made up. It is referenced to the DA microfiche and contains notations made by the ABMC data base officer.


Explanation of Columns in the Appendix I List

  • Column 1: indicates the sequence in which a name is contained in a particular Fiche.
  • Columns 2, 3, and 4: name, Rank and Serial Number is shown on the microfilm.
    1. Prefixes to ASN: RA = Regular Army; RO = Reserve Officer (enlisted man with reserve commission); NG = National Guard; ER = Enlisted Reserve; US = Draftee; O = Officer; W = Warrant Officer; PS = Unknown.
    2. Rank Abbreviations: PV1 = Private (Recruit); PV2 = Private; PFC = Private First Class; CPL = Corporal; SGT = Sergeant; SFC = Sergeant First Class; MSG = Master Sergeant; JWO = Junior Warrant Officer; CWO = Chief Warrant Officer; 2LT = Second Lieutenant; 1LT = First Lieutenant; CPT = Captain; MAJ = Major; LTC = Lieutenant Colonel; COL = Colonel; BG = Brigadier General.
  • Column 5: Casualty Dates. Only one date is shown where the casualty date and the reporting date is the same. A second entry indicates a later reporting date. The dates are shown as Day-Month-Year, thus 08-06-53 = 8 June 1953.
  • Column 6: Apparent Reclassifications. From DNB to HDWM (18 in all); from FOD to KIA (three in all).


Disclaimer

In the absence of a properly validated Department of the Army roster, the following list represents a good-faith interpretation of the data contained in the microfiche; particularly with respect to the casualty codes designated as DNB, MNB and FOD. I was unable to secure from DA the meaning of certain number codes appearing next to the casualty designations KIA, DOD, MIA, DNB, MNB, FOD.

Due to the extremely poor condition of the microfiche, some of the letters and numbers were not 100% readable and so in transcription were sometimes identified in error. [The ABMC also noted codes beside some of the names, but gave no explanation of them. Several names have been identified as "MIA" by ABMC for unexplained reasons. See Part III for further discussion of ABMC rosters.]

Because the information contained in the following list has never been validated by the Department of the Army, and is not currently contained in the Department of Defense 1994 "Selected Korean Conflict Casualties" data base, it should not be considered a complete, official DA list.

Unfortunately, the DA data does not contain home town or unit of assignment information. You will have to write DA for this. Some of the information may be on file with the ABMC. On February 12, 1997, I asked the DA for such information. They informed me in a letter dated February 20, 1997 that I would have to pay a fee of $900,000 (NINE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS) to pay for the research.


Information on Microfiche

Maybe you’ll hit it lucky! For further information on Army "Non-Battle" casualties, please contact: Department of the Army, Total Army Personnel Command, Attn: TAPC-ALP (FOIA), 200 Stovall Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22331-0405.


Information at ABMC

For your information, in February 1997, The American Battle Monuments Commission installed a $500,000 "Interactive Computer System" at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., which is available to the public. On February 28, 1997, I sent a copy of my list to the ABMC for whatever action they wishes to take to ensure that the names are included on their data base.

On June 12, 1997, I received a response from ABMC (through former U.S. Congresswoman Susan Molinari, 13th District, NY) informing me that the ABMC has been able to add 200 names to the data base which they did not previously have. In addition, ABMC’s Col. Frederick C. Badger, the data base project officer, graciously updated my Army "Non-Battle" roster to fill in most of the missing or erroneous information.

As of December 31, 1998, according to an ABMC release, the complete ABMC data base contains over 37,277 names. It includes the Korean War "Hostile" and "Non-battle" deaths, a number of civilian and merchant seamen deaths, the post-war Korea deaths to date and a number of deaths which occurred during the Korean War era in locations other than Korea.

For further information, please contact The American Battle Monuments Commission, Attn: Col. Anthony N. Corea, Director, Operations & Finance, Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500, 2300 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201. Colonel Corea has been most responsive and sensitive to the concerns of Koeran War veterans and their families in gathering information for The Korean War Honor Roll. Both he and Colonel Badger have earned our heartfelt thanks.

Regrettably, as verified by both of these officers, a complete roster of the 17,355 other military personnel, some of whom died in support of or because of the Korean Operation and some who died in connection with Cold War operations, is not available to ABMC. 1./ However, as these names are provided to the Commission by families and friends, we are told that they are being added to the ABMC database.

MARTIN J. O’BRIEN
December 31, 1998

1./ Why is not clear! According to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI), the ABMC maintains a "Book of the Military Dead." Furthermore, Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPF/293), mortuary files, are maintained by the Department of the Army and National Archives.

--

[KWE Note: The document below was retyped for insertion on the Korean War Educator.]

THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
WASHINGTON D.C. 20314-0001

June 5, 1997

The Honorable Susan Molinari
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
14 New Dorp Lane
Staten Island, NY 10306

Dear Ms. Molinari:

The Department of the Army, Office of Legislative Affairs has referred your letter of April 22, 1997 on behalf of Mr. Martin J. O’Brien, to this Commission for reply. Information about this Commission, the services we provide and the American military cemeteries and memorials under our care may be found in the enclosed pamphlet and World War II commemorative booklet.

The Korean War Memorial Honor Roll database, which is an integral part of the Memorial, is in the process of being compiled. At this time, the database contains the names of approximately 37,000 men and women of the United States military who died during the Korean War. Regrettably, a roster of the approximately 17,000 other military personnel who died world wide during the war is not available through Department of Defense channels. However, as these names are provided to this Commission, they are being added to the database.

Enclosed for forwarding to Mr. O’Brien, is a copy of the roster which he compiled and provided to us. From Mr. O’Brien’s roster, we have been able to include in the database approximately 200 names which we did not previously have. Colonel Badger, the database project officer, has made some handwritten notes on the roster which will be of assistance to Mr. O’Brien.

Please convey to Mr. O’Brien our appreciation of the extensive labor and dedication he has made to ensure that those who have made the supreme sacrifice so that others may live in freedom are honored If we may be of other service to you or your constituents at any time, please let us know.

(signed)

Sincerely,

Anthony N. Corea
Colonel, USAF
Director, Operations and Finance


LIST OF ARMY NON-BATTLE CASUALTIES

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE ARMY NON-BATTLE STATS
[Methodology Used]

Going into this exercise, I knew with some certainty from Department of Army, Surgeon General and Department of Defense records and statistical data, that 2,452 Army non-battle deaths were officially attributed to the Korean Operation. Whether all of the names are to be found in official files is another story.

The Reister Study:

Then I was lucky enough to find a rare copy of a study entitled Battle Casualties and Medical Statistics: U.S. Army Experience in the Korean War, put together by Frank Reister and published by the Surgeon General, Department of the Army in 1973. He developed the statistics using a variety of records, including hospital patient records. Some 1943 deaths were attributed to injuries, burns, wounds, poisonings, suicides, homicides and other causes, and 509 deaths were attributed to diseases. Reister’s report is very comprehensive, as evidenced by the exhaustively detailed preface he wrote for the book.

DoD Acknowledges the Reister Numbers:

DoD acknowledges the Army study and uses the information in their statistical tables which routinely are made available to the public, though it does not actually have a list of the 2,452 names to back up the statistics. Then I got a copy of a 1954 Army microfiche set which I obtained from the DA under the Freedom of Information Act. [As mentioned elsewhere in this study, the reference is: 601-87 (Fiche page Nos. 0001-0018) "POW, MIA, Non-Battle Casualties, Korean Operation (All Services, Korean War, as of March 31, 1954. Note: The title would lead one to believe that there are not KIA, DOW; however, they are included.]

Methodology:

Then I analyzed the microfiche. I found 2,389 DNB, "Died-Non-Battle;" 3 MNB, "Missing, Non-Battle;" and 22 FOD, "Finding of Death" entries for a total of 2,414 names. [Some 38 names short of the official DoD count of 2,452. The difference, however, may lie in the possibility that some of the hospital records used by Reister were of DNB who were hospitalized in Japan, or U.S., and may have been picked up in the mix of the 17,355 "other" deaths attributed to out-of-theater operations. E.g., Roland Carey who died in Japan after complications arising from an accident in Korea.]

I next cross-referenced the 2,414 names to the 1994 DoD DIOR data base of 34,461 names and the POW/MIA list [PMKOR] of 8,196 names prepared by the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Office [DPMO] and released after the second edition of my study was published.

The PMKOR is made up of the original 8,177 BNR (body-not-returned/identified) cases plus 19 of the 22 FOD cases I had identified from the Army microfiche.

  1. The PMKOR list told me that 16 of the 19 FOD cases had been determined to be MIA and 3 cases had been determined to be DNB.
  2. The DoD DIOR list told me that one DNB entry was a duplication; and that 18 FOD cases had been reclassified as HDWM and 3 had been reclassified as KIA.

I do not know, however, if the 16 MIA additions in the PMKOR list already have been or will be incorporated into the DoD DIOR data base (the official government record) for "Hostile" deaths. I do know, though, that the DoD DIOR is working on a new casualty list for Korea which is due to be released in 2000, at last report.


Breakout:

Changes Per DoD DIOR Data Base and DPMO Data Base

DNB FOD MNB Total
2,389 22 3 2,414
- 1 DUPE   - 1
- 18 HDWM   - 18
 - 16 MIA   - 16
 - 3 KIA   - 3
2,370 DNB      3 DNB    3 2,376


Recap:

 2,452 = Official DoD DNB Stat
-2.376 = DNB/MNB Identified by My Study
      76 = Difference

Back to O'Brien Table of Contents
Appendix II

 

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