How DNA and a lot of hope is helping Defense Department find New York war heroes

In 2016, the remains of 18-year-old Hornell native Cpl. William H. Smith were laid to rest in Elmira’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, 66 years after he’d first been reported missing in action in 1950 while stationed near the Chinese border in Korea.
Smith is one of 28 previously missing service members of the Korean War from New York state who have been recovered, identified and returned for burial in the past 18 years, according to Defense Department records.
These homecomings, and those of the missing in other conflicts, were the result of a centralized effort by the Defense Department, intensified in recent years by the formation of a single agency — the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency — to coordinate the effort to recover missing personnel from past wars and conflicts and from countries around the world.