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Release No: 569-96
October 03, 1996


The remains of an American soldier who died in combat during the Korean War have been identified and returned to his family in the United States. The name is not being released in respect to family wishes.

The U. S. Army corporal will be buried in his hometown on Saturday with full military honors. Remains were repatriated to U. S. control on July 29 in a formal ceremony at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

In a historic joint operation with the North Koreans, the remains were recovered near Unsan, North Korea, approximately 45 miles south of the Chinese border. The soldier had been buried there following combat between U. S. and Chinese forces in November 1950. His burial site was found after U. S. investigators interviewed local officials and villagers who directed the team to a site where they believed an American soldier was buried. Found at the same burial site were his dog tag, rations, as well as spent and unspent ammunition.

The joint operation was the result of months of negotiations between the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and the Defense Department's POW/MIA Office. The first round of negotiations led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James W. Wold, began in January 1996, but no agreement was reached. Several low-level contacts in the next few months led both sides to schedule formal negotiations in New York City in May. There, a formal agreement was signed resolving past issues and agreeing to conduct two joint recoveries in 1996. Later, follow-on technical discussions in Pyongyang, North Korea, set up logistical agreements, including the dates and sites, for the two operations.

Identification of the soldier was made by the U. S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, where the remains were flown from Korea. Among the forensic procedures used at the CILHI were comparisons between the remains and dental charts from medical records.

An honor guard from his parent unit during the Korean War will provide escort for the burial.

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