Remains believed to be those of seven American soldiers missing in action from the Korean War will be repatriated in formal ceremonies on Tuesday in Korea.
The remains will then 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 U.N. Command repatriation ceremony will be held.
A joint team operating near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea recovered six sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. Army soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division who fought against Chinese forces November-December 1950. Additionally, a second team recovered one set of remains in the area along the Chong Chon River near the junction of Unsan and Kujang counties, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. The area was the site of battles between Communist forces and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950. Approximately 1,000 Americans are estimated to have been lost in battles of the Chosin campaign.
The 28-person U.S. contingent was composed primarily of specialists from the Army's Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI).
The Defense Department's Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) negotiated terms with the North Koreans in June, which led to the scheduling of three operations this year. This repatriation marks the end of the first of this year's three operations. The remaining two operations are set for Aug. 24-Sept. 24 and Sept. 28-Oct. 29.
Twenty-three individual joint operations have been conducted since 1996 in North Korea, during which 159 sets of remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers have been recovered. Thirteen have been positively identified and returned to their families for burial with military honors. Another 12 are in 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.