Korean War Fallen Remains Make Their Way Home

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In a solemn ceremony yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence welcomed home 55 sets of remains, believed to be American soldiers, at a carry ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

“Some have called the Korean War the ‘forgotten war.’ But today, we prove these heroes were never forgotten,” said Pence “Today, our boys are coming home.”

The remains are believed to be that of service members who died fighting, during the Korean War, more than 60 years ago.

The remains began their journey home just weeks after President Donald Trump received a commitment from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for their return when the two leaders met at a summit in Singapore last June.

Senior Airman Apryl Hall

The United Nations Command, with support from U.S. Forces Korea and the South Korean Defense Ministry, repatriated the 55 sets of Korean War remains returned by North Korea on Thursday, July 26, 2018, said U.S. Army General Vincent K. Brooks, commander of United Nations Command.

As the remains were making their way home, the White House released a statement announcing the return of the remains by North Korea. “At their historic meeting in Singapore, President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un took a bold first step to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, transform relations between the United States and North Korea, and establish enduring peace. Today, the Chairman is fulfilling part of the commitment he made to the President to return our fallen American service members. We are encouraged by North Korea’s actions and the momentum for positive change.

A U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft containing remains of fallen service members has departed Wonsan, North Korea. It is accompanied by service members from United Nations Command Korea and technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The C-17 is transferring the remains to Osan Air Base, where a formal repatriation ceremony will be held on August 1.

The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home. It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner.

Today’s actions represent a significant first step to recommence the repatriation of remains from North Korea and to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who have not yet returned home.”

After the return of the remains, Brooks said “It was a successful mission following extensive coordination,”.

“Now, we will prepare to honor our fallen before they continue on their journey home,” Brooks added.

Yesterday, Wednesday, August 1,  South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, along with General Brooks co-hosted a repatriation ceremony in Osan, South Korea to honor the fallen. After the ceremony in Osan, the remains were flown to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the carrying ceremony which took place around 8:00 p.m. EST.

Following the ceremony in Hawaii, the remains were scheduled to be transferred to the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency laboratory for identification.

Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline

 

Department of Defense

 

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