Remains believed to be those of nine American soldiers, missing in action from the Korean War, will be repatriated in formal ceremonies scheduled for Aug. 21 in Japan.
The remains will be flown on a U.S. Air Force aircraft from Pyongyang, North Korea, under escort of a uniformed U.S. honor guard, to Yokota Air Base, Japan, where a United Nations Command repatriation ceremony will be held.
A joint U.S.-North Korean team operating in Usan and Kujang counties and along the Chong Chon River, in the Kaechon area, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, recovered the remains during operations that began last month. The area was the site of battles between Communist forces and the U.S. Army's 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950. During this operation, teams also surveyed the site for a base camp about 15 miles south of the Chosin Reservoir where excavations will be conducted next month.
The two 14-person U.S. teams operating in North Korea are composed primarily of specialists from the Army's Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI).
The Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office negotiated an agreement with the North Koreans last year that led to the scheduling of this year's operations. This year's schedule of operations in North Korea is the largest yet, with ten individual operations scheduled, including some near the Chosin Reservoir.
Twenty-three operations have been conducted since 1996 in North Korea, recovering 127 sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers. 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.