Sacramento, California - On behalf of all Californians, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Army Cpl. Clarence R. Skates, a U.S. serviceman missing from the Korean War.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has announced that Cpl. Skates' remains have been identified and that he will be buried on September 15 with full military honors.
Cpl. Clarence R. Skates, 19, of Los Angeles, CA, bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation and the Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends. In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol. Cpl. Skates' family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.
In November 1950, Cpl. Skates was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when the division suffered heavy losses between the towns of Kunu-ri and Sunchon, North Korea. Cpl. Skates' regiment suffered many casualties, and he was reported missing in action on November 30, 1950, after his unit was overrun by units of the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces.
At the end of the war, during "Operation Big Switch," where all remaining prisoners of war were returned, the former prisoners were interviewed. One reported hearing that Cpl. Skates died while marching to POW Camp 5, but he was unable to provide further information. Based on this information, Cpl. Skates was declared deceased as of February 5, 1954.
In August and September 2002, a Joint U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii and KPA Recovery Team conducted the 28th Joint Recovery Operation in Unsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. A site reported to be a temporary prison camp was located and recovery operations were conducted. Remains of up to 11 individuals were recovered and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
Scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used DNA and anthropological analysis as well as circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.