Remains believed to be those of four American soldiers missing in action from the Korean War have been recovered by two teams of U.S. specialists.
A joint team operating near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea recovered two sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. Army soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division who fought against Chinese forces from November-December 1950. Approximately 1,000 Americans are estimated to have been lost in battles of the Chosin campaign.
Additionally, a second team recovered two sets of remains in Unsan County, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. This area was the site of battles between communist forces and the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950.
The Defense Department’s Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office negotiated terms with the North Koreans in July, which led to the scheduling of two, month-long operations this year. As a matter of policy, these recovery talks deal exclusively with the issue of recovering the remains of missing Americans. POW/MIA accounting is a separate, stand-alone humanitarian matter, not tied to any other issue. The second operation will end on October 28, 2003 when these remains and others will be repatriated.
The 28-person U.S. contingent was composed primarily of specialists from the Army’s Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii.
Since 1996, 26 individual joint operations have been conducted in North Korea, during which 182 sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers have been recovered. Of the 88,000 U.S. servicemembers missing in action from all conflicts, more than 8,100 are from the Korean War.