The remains of a Republic of Korea soldier, killed in the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family today in ceremonies at Hawaii's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Maj. Woo Sik Park was recently identified by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory (CILHI). Portions of his remains were recovered in Vietnam in March 1993. The remains were recovered by a search and recovery team of personnel from CILHI and the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, as well as counterparts from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Park was a passenger in an American UH-1 helicopter when it crashed on Dec. 2, 1967, in Phu Khanh Province, Vietnam. At the time, Park, commander of the 3rd Company, 29th Regiment, 9th Division, Republic of Korea Army, was serving as an allied military advisor to the U.S. Army. The American crew of four departed Phu Hiep Airfield to return Park to his unit location about 25 miles south. At the time of the crash, no evidence of the aircraft or crash could be located.
Through the laboratory's forensic analysis, including mitochondrial DNA testing, the remains were determined to be those of the four crewmen and Park.
The ceremony will include the transfer of Park's remains from the United States to the Republic of Korea, a joint color guard, and the playing of both countries' national anthems by the U.S. Marine Corps Pacific Command band. Remarks will be given by U.S. and Republic of Korea general officers. Park's wife, son, and granddaughter will be at the repatriation ceremony.
While CILHI's mission is to search for, recover and identify unaccounted for Americans from previous wars, in unique circumstances it recovers and identifies citizens of allied countries from past conflicts.