An Army sergeant from Rhode Island who was captured during the Korean War and died of starvation in a POW camp in May 1951 has been accounted for, news his family has been waiting to hear for years.

Sgt. Lawrence J. Robidoux 22, of Cumberland, was accounted for in January after his remains were identified using mitochondrial DNA, dental and anthropological analysis and his family was recently briefed on the identification, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Soldier Remains Identified

U.S. Army Sgt. Lawrence J. Robidoux, of Cumberland, R.I. appears in a Korean War-era photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency via AP

Robidoux was one of eight children in a French-Canadian family that immigrated to Rhode Island, Larry Couture, Robidoux’s nephew, said Tuesday from his Arizona home. Six of those siblings are still alive including Couture’s mother – Robidoux’s sister, Lucille Couture, who is now 97.

“Hallelujah!” Couture said, describing the family’s reaction when they found out Robidoux’s remains had been identified. “That’s kind of what everyone was hoping for, that he would be identified prior to Mom passing.”

“This is something she’s wanted for quite some time, so there was some surprise there,” said Couture, 68, who is named after the uncle he never met.

Robidoux joined the Army in 1949 and was deployed to Japan as part of the U.S. occupation force, his nephew said.


Robidoux, a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, was reported missing in action on Nov. 27, 1950, according to his personnel profile on the DPAA’s website. His company came under Chinese attack from two sides and after the Chinese infiltrated the American positions, U.S. troops pulled back.

Robidoux was captured and marched to a POW camp on the Yalu River in the far north of the country. POWs released in 1953 reported that Robidoux died in May 1951, according to military officials.

Remains from the camp were returned by North Korea to United Nations Command in the fall of 1954, but none could be associated with Robidoux at that time and he was determined non-recoverable, the Army said. The remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

More than 650 Korean War Unknowns were disinterred from that site in December 2019 and some of the remains were determined to be those of Robidoux, military officials said.

A large contingent of relatives is expected at the burial service which will be held at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington at a date to be determined, including three of Robidoux’s surviving siblings, Couture said.

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