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Herman Raymond Phy was a United States Army Corporal who went missing in action during the Battle of Pork Chop Hill during the Korean War in on July 6, 1953. His remains were returned to US custody in 1993 and identified on July 23, 2019.

Military Service

Born on October 25, 1934, Herman Phy joined the United States Army from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a corporal infantryman in Company A, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 17th Infantry Division.

Phy's company took part in the Battle of Pork Hill which took place between April 16 to 18, 1953 and July 6 to 11, 1953. At dawn of April 18, Company A climbed with the 2nd Battalion companies. The three companies spent the bulk of that day clearing the trenches and bunkers of Chinese People's Volunteer Army soldiers and securing the hilltop. The battle ended that afternoon.

On the night of July 6, 1953, the PVA's 27th Division attacked Pork Chop Hill. During the nightly chaos, Phy was reported missing in action and was last seen in the vicinity of Hill 255. On July 11, 1953, the UN forces retreated and forfeited Pork Chop Hill. Three hundred forty-seven American soldiers were killed, one-thousand thirty-six were wounded, and nine were captured. Between five-hundred and thirty-three and one thousand Chinese soldiers were killed and between one thousand two-hundred and forty-two and four thousand were wounded. Less than three weeks later, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, ending the fighting.

Aftermath

Phy was not among the remains or prisoners of war returned immediately after the end of the Korean War. He was declared dead on July 7, 1954.

After his presumed death, he was awarded the following commendations: the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army Presidential Unit Citation, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the Marksmanship Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Purple Heart, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal.

Phy was also memorialized in Court 6 of the Courts of Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii and the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

Identification

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned two-hundred and eight boxes to U.S. custody. Collectively known as K-208, the boxes contained the remains of U.S. servicemen and any material evidence. Thirty-three of the boxes were turned over in 1993.

To identify the servicemen, scientists from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used anthropological analysis and circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

Through these methods, Herman Phy's remains were identified on July 23, 2019. The identification was announced on July 31, 2019. He was buried on July 6, 2021 in Section 8, Site 525 of Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida, sixty-eight years to the day after he was killed.

Sources

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