Sumner County Soldier Identified 65 Years After Death In Korean War

Nov 14, 2016

PFC William Cowan presumably died as a POW during the Korean War.
Credit courtesy Tennessee Department of Veterans Services

A soldier from Sumner County who went missing in action has been identified, 65 years after his death in the Korean War. His remains were found in the 1950s and declared unidentifiable until earlier this year.

His name is William Cowan. He was from White House and just 19 when he went missing from his unit. Service members said he died as a prisoner of war in North Korea, and bodies from the POW camp were taken to Honolulu where they were buried in nameless graves.

But in June, the remains were exhumed. And using dental records and chest radiographs, Private First Class Cowan was positively ID'd. He will be buried Saturday in Ohio, where his family is from. Governor Bill Haslam has ordered flags in Tennessee at half-staff.

He says in a statement he's glad Cowan's family now has some closure.

“This Tennessean gave his life for us," Haslam said. "And we humbly remember and recognize his ultimate sacrifice.”