Remains Of SD Soldier Killed In Korean War Laid To Rest On Standing Rock Reservation


     A South Dakota soldier who died while a POW during the Korean War was laid to rest Friday with military honors in his native land.

    Melvin Little Bear, whose remains were identified in July – more than 70 years after his death – was interred at the All Nation’s Veterans Cemetery on the Standing Rock Reservation.

     Little Bear was a 21-year-old Army PFC in the field artillery when he was reported missing in action on Feb. 13, 1951 after his unit was attacked by the Chinese Army.

      The Army later confirmed he’d been captured and held at POW Camp #1 in North Korea, but reports and information from both Chinese and North Korean forces said he died in captivity on or about July 21, 1951.

      In the fall of 1954, after the armistice ended the fighting in Korea, the remains of prisoners from POW Camp #1 were disinterred and taken to Hawaii.

     Those that could not be identified, including Little Bear, were buried Feb. 16, 1956, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    More than 60 years later in November 2019, those remains were removed as part of the exhumation of remains from 23 burials held in 1956 for the remains of unidentified service members from the same part of North Korea

      The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lab at Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickman analyzed the remains using state-of-the-art forensic testing, and scientists were able to use dental and anthropological analysis to identify Little Bear

     Little Bear’s name has been on the Courts of the Missing from the Korean War at the Punchbowl for decades, but now has a rosette next to it showing he has been identified.