The Department of Defense announced today that remains believed to be those of eight American soldiers missing in action from the Korean War were repatriated in formal ceremonies at Yokota Air Base, Japan, on Tuesday, July 10. The remains were flown on a U.S. Air Force aircraft from Pyongyang, North Korea, under the escort of a uniformed United Nations Command honor guard.
A joint U.S.-North Korean team operating about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, recovered the remains during operations that began in June. The area was the site of battles between Communist forces and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division, and 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950.
The 28-person U.S. team was composed primarily of specialists from the Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. The Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office negotiated an agreement with the North Koreans last year that led to the scheduling of this operation.
This year's work in North Korea promises to be the most productive yet, with 10 individual operations scheduled, including some near the Chosin Reservoir. Twenty-one joint operations, resulting in the recovery of 118 sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers, have been conducted in North Korea since 1996. Eight have been positively identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Another 10 are nearing the final stages of the forensic identification process.
Of the 88,000 U.S. servicemembers missing in action from all conflicts, more than 8,100 are from the Korean War.