A Seattle soldier who was killed in the opening months of the Korean War has been identified and will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Next week, more than 61 years after he was killed by enemy fire during the Korean War, a 19-year-old soldier from Seattle will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Pfc. Richard E. Clapp was killed Sept. 2, 1950, when his Army unit came under fire near Yulchon, South Korea. But his remains were labeled as an “unknown” and interred first in Korea and later at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, according to a statement released Wednesday from the Defense Department’s Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office. Then last year, the remains were exhumed for examination.

“It was quite a shock to learn that he was finally identified,” said his younger sister, Beverly Chase, now 78 years old and living in Senoia, Ga. “My parents had gotten a telegram (in 1950) saying that he had died in action. That they were sure he was dead but they couldn’t identify the different bodies that had been taken out that day.”

The identification effort used circumstantial evidence, forensic identification tools such as radiograph comparison, and dental records to identify Pfc. Clapp, according to the Defense Department statement.

Chase said the key to finally identifying his remains was a chipped tooth that was matched to the remains exhumed last year. She said her brother had attended Franklin High School, dropping out before graduation to join the Army, and deploying to the Korean peninsula.

Chase said she and her three daughters will be at the funeral services scheduled April 25 for her brother.

“It’s gives us a lot of honor to have him buried at Arlington,” Chase said.

According to the Defense Department, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581 or hbernton@seattletimes.com