James Thomas Higgins
Sergeant, United States Army
a contemporary press report: 14 August 2000
Army Sergeant James Higgins was killed November 1, 1950, during the battle of Unsan, in North Korea, while attached to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment.
Friday, his remains were finally buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His brother David Higgins, 63, of Lutz, last saw James when David was 12 years old. Of the 12 siblings from Benham, Kentucky, only David and a sister remain, though about 100 relatives were expected to attend the ceremony.
"We're very thankful to get him back home, to the soil of the United States,'' Higgins said. "It's been like an open wound in the family for the past 50 years.''
Another soldier who had been taken prisoner during the battle told Higgins' parents that a grenade killed their son. The man returned Higgins' dog tags to the family during a visit to Kentucky after the man was released by the North Koreans.
Higgins' remains were recently positively identified
through DNA testing and returned.
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 764-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Soldier Missing in Action From the Korean War is Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Corporal Edward F. Blazejewski, U.S. Army, of Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on Friday, 11 August 2006.
Blazejewski was assigned to Medical Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, when his unit came under heavy artillery attack by Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea, on November 1, 1950. During the attack, Corporal Blazejewski and other soldiers killed in action were left behind when their unit moved to a previous defensive position. A U.S. soldier who had been held as a prisoner of war by the North Koreans told debriefers that Blazejewski and others had been killed by a grenade explosion.
In August 1997, a joint U.S.-North Korean team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated a site in Pyongan Province believed to contain the remains of several U.S. soldiers. Remains representing four men were recovered, as well as an identification tag and a denture, neither of which were associated with Blazejewski.
The other three soldiers were identified and buried in 2000. Buried at Arlington were Sergeant James T. Higgins, Benham, Kentucky; and Private First Class John L. Hoey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sergeant Andrew Ernandis, Brooklyn, New York, was buried in Hicksville, N.Y. Group remains representing all four soldiers will also be buried Friday at Arlington.
Among other forensic identification tools, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Blazejewski's remains, matching a DNA sequence from a maternal relative.
For additional information on the Defense Department's
mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO
web site or call (703) 699-1169.
HIGGINS, JAMES T
SGT US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/07/1930
DATE OF DEATH: 11/01/1950
BURIED AT: SECTION 66 SITE 5858
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Posted: 20 September 2000 Updated: 26 November 2000 Updated: 1 December 2001 Updated: 10 August 2006