Burl Mullins was a United States Army soldier declared missing in action on November 30, 1950 during the Korean War. His remains were returned to US custody on July 27, 2018 and identified on April 23, 2020.
Burl Mullins was born to Gustie and Love Mullins in Pike County, Kentucky. Growing up, he was the sixth of seven siblings. At some point he enlisted in the United States Army from Dorton, Kentucky. His service number was 35969496. He was assigned as a Corporal, specialty being Heavy Weapons Infantry, to Heavy Mortar Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Division.
The 7th Infantry Division took part of the Battle of Inchon AKA the Inchon Landing between September 10 and September 19, 1950. United States and South Korean forces invaded and had taken over the city of Inchon. This battle was a strategic victory for the United Nations Command that turned the tide of the war in their favor. Mullins likely participated in this battle, but details of his participation are unknown.
Mullins's unit took part in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, which between November 27 and December 13, 1950, the North Korean Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army recovered northeastern Korea and caused the UNC to retreat. In the ensuing chaos, Mullins was reported as missing in action on November 30, 1950. Over seventeen thousand of United Nations soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing and between forty-nine thousand and sixty thousand Chinese soldiers were killed or wounded.
It was learned after the battle that Mullins was taken as a prisoner of war, but further details of his captivity are not currently known.
Mullins was not among the remains and prisoners of war recovered by the end of the Korean War on July 27, 1953. He was listed as presumed dead on December 31, 1953.
Mullins was posthumously awarded the following awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal. He is memorialized in Court 6 of the Honolulu Memorial Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, Hawaii and at the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
On July 27, 2018, following a US and North Korea joint-summit between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un the month before, the North Korean government returned fifty-five boxes of unknown US soldiers to US custody. They arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on August 1, 2018. One of the boxes held remains recovered by the North Korean Korean People's Army at Sinhungri, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea. Scientists at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to identify the remains.
Based on these DNA analysis techniques and historical evidence, Burl Mullins' remains were identified on April 23, 2020. The identification was announced on April 27, 2020.
Mullins will be buried in his hometown on a yet-to-be-determined date.