The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that for the 10th consecutive year, teams of U.S. specialists have begun recovery missions of missing in action (MIA) servicemen in North Korea.
The 27-man team entered North Korea April 16 and deployed to two base camps from which the remains recovery work will be done. One of the primary areas of operations will be in Unsan County, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. The other will be near the Chosin Reservoir in the northeast part of the country.
In Unsan County, U.S. forces battled Chinese units in the battles of Unsan and the Chong Chon River November-December 1950. About 300 U.S. soldiers are believed to be missing in Unsan County from those battles. During the Chosin Campaign, also November-December 1950, more than 1,000 Americans are missing from combat against Chinese forces.
Specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) are scheduled to carry out their work during five month-long periods between April and late October. The current operation will end mid-May. Since 1996, these teams have recovered remains believed to be those of more than 200 Americans. Twenty have been identified and returned to their families.
Operations for 2005 were set in DPMO-led negotiations with North Korea last November. U.S. teams in the field number up to 13 men each, with two additional personnel in Pyongyang to provide logistical and communications support. The teams are comprised of both civilian and military specialists. The lead scientific officer at each site is a forensic anthropologist or archeologist from JPAC, with support from specialists in mortuary affairs, explosive ordnance disposal, medicine, vehicle maintenance and linguistics.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing from all conflicts since the beginning of World War II, more than 8,100 are from the Korean War.
For additional information on the Defense Departments mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http:// www.dtic.mil/dpmo
, or call (703) 699-1169.