The remains of two soldiers missing in action from the Korean War have been identified and returned to their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as U.S. Army Cpl. Charles W. Tillman, Columbia, S.C., and U.S. Army Pfc. Herbert Ardis, Detroit, Mich. The remains of Tillman and Ardis were recovered about three miles apart in an area approximately 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
The remains of both soldiers were recovered during investigations and excavations directed by the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office following negotiations with North Korea in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The U.S. teams conducted ten excavations from 1996-99 inside North Korea and have recovered 39 remains of American servicemen lost during the war. Three have been identified, including Tillman and Ardis, with approximately 8,200 still missing in action.
The recovery of the remains of both these soldiers, as well as the forensic identification work, was carried out by the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii.
On Nov. 25, 1950, elements of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, were attacking enemy positions near the Chongchon River in North Korea. That night, Chinese communist forces launched an all-out frontal attack along the entire regimental front. The following day, American forces withdrew from the area of the attacks, and Tillman was reported as missing in action.
In August 1998, a joint U.S.-North Korean team excavated an isolated burial site in P'yongan-Pukto Province. The team recovered Tillman's remains along with American military artifacts such as a mess kit spoon and military buttons.
During the Nov. 26, 1950, battles with Chinese communist units near the Chongchon River in North Korea, Ardis' unit was surrounded, but broke through the encirclement and took up a defensive position where they continued to repel the enemy for the next two days. But on Nov. 28, his unit encountered a Chinese roadblock, where they abandoned their vehicles and retreated to the south on foot. Ardis was listed as missing in action as a result of these encounters. His remains were recovered by a joint U.S./North Korean team in P'yongan-Pukto Province in July 1998.