The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Master Sgt. Thomas Crayton, 28, of Austin, Texas, killed during the Korean War, was accounted for Sep. 26, 2023.
In Nov. 1950, Crayton was a member of Alpha Battery, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth U.S. Army. He went missing in action and captured by enemy forces after his unit engaged combat actions in the vicinity of Somindong, North Korea, on Dec. 1, 1950. Shortly after he went missing, Chinese forces announced MSG Crayton had been captured as a Prisoner of War. In 1953, several POWs returned during Operation Big Switch reported Crayton had been a prisoner of war and died on Feb. 11, 1951, at Prisoner of War Camp #5. His remains were not immediately recovered or identified after the war.
In 1954, during Operation Glory, North Korea unilaterally turned over remains to the United States, including one set, designated Unknown X-14240. The remains were reportedly recovered from prisoner of war camps, United Nations cemeteries and isolated burial sites. None of the remains could be identified as Crayton and he was declared non-recoverable on Aug. 24, 1953. The remains were subsequently buried as an unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Chinese prison camp administrators moved many of their prisoners between POW Camps 1 and 5, and historical records and contemporary analysis have shown that the Chinese and North Korean recovery data has frequently proven inaccurate. In February 2020, scientists from the DPAA laboratory disinterred Unknown X-14240 from the NMCP for scientific analysis.
To identify Crayton’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as chest radiograph and other circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Crayton’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Crayton will be buried in Austin, Texas, on a date to be determined.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
To see the most up-to-date statistics on DPAA recovery efforts for those unaccounted for from the Korean War, go to the Korean War Accounting page on the DPAA website at: https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaFamWebKorean.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Crayton’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt00000004qT3EAI.