Korean War Casualty Information

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Casualties Figures - Prisoners of War*

Died while POW/Interned - Total 2,806
  • Army - 2,753
  • USAF - 24
  • USMC - 26
  • USN - 3

Operation Little Switch

The first of two prisoner of war exchanges, Operation Little Switch took place between 21 April and 3 May 1953. It consisted of 149 U.S. military personnel in need of immediate medical treatment who were prisoners of the enemy. There were 127 Army, 19 Navy-Marine, and three Air Force personnel. Almost all of them had been wounded.

Operation Big Switch

The second exchange occurred after the armistice agreement was signed. Operation Big Switch took place between 4 August and 6 September 1953. In it, 2,596 U.S. military personnel were repatriated, including 3,195 Army, 184 Navy-Marine, and 217 Air Force personnel. Slightly less than two-thirds of the former POWs had been wounded.

Personnel returned to the United States were each given physical examinations upon release. The majority of them (93 percent) were between 20 and 34 years of age. An additional 157 were between 35 and 39 years, and 68 were 40-54 years of age. There were also 42 former POWs who were 19 years of age or less. The age of five more was unknown.

*Sources: Department of Defense figures as of June 1, 2000; "Battle Casualties and Medical Statistics" by Frank Reister.


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