Waelder MIA coming home


On Tuesday, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that a Waelder man killed in the Korean War will return home, nearly 69 years after he was reported missing in action. According to a press release by the DPAA, Army Master Sgt. Charlie J. Mares, 30, was accounted for on Feb. 4.

On July 31, 1950, Mares was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, and was engaged in combat against the Korean People's Army. He was reported missing in action following the battle fought near Kwonbin-ni, South Korea.

A set of remains in the area that Mares was lost was found in May 1951 and were shipped to Japan to be identified. After failing to match to a service member, the remains were sent to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific — also known as the Punchbowl — in Hawaii where they were buried as an unknown. This past October, further analysis on those remains were performed using anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis along with circumstantial and material evidence. After the study, it was concluded that the remains were Mares'.

The DPAA said that it is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in the mission.

“Today, 7,663 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams,” the DPAA said. “Mares' name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.”

Mares is scheduled to be returned and buried in Cistern on March 29.