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    United States Returns 147 Remains to South Korea Days before the 70th Anniversary of the Start of the Korean War

    DPAA Returns 147 Sets of Remains to South Korea Days Before the 70th Anniversary of the Start of the Korean War

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank | South Korean service members carry boxes containing remains of South Korean service...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Leah Ferrante 

    Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

    HONOLULU, June 23, 2020 -- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) held a repatriation ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 23, 2020.

    The purpose of the ceremony was to transfer the remains and commemorate the service of 147 fallen South Korean soldiers who fought alongside U.S. and United Nations forces during the Korean War. The efforts to return the remains are a part of the DPAA Korean War Identification Project, and includes remains unilaterally turned over by North Korea from 1990 to 1994, and in 2018. It is the largest transfer of remains between the two countries since the 2018 repatriation ceremony when DPAA returned 64 remains to South Korea.

    Vice-Minister of National Defense Jae Min Park, South Korea’s senior official in attendance, accepted the remains on behalf of the Republic of Korea (ROK).

    “This year marks the 67th anniversary of the mutual defense treaty which formed the Republic of Korea-United States alliance in 1953,” Park stated. “The Republic of Korea and the United States continue their mutual cooperation to pursue the fulfillment of a nation’s sacred duty to remember the sacrifices of the fallen warriors and to bring every last one home.”

    The remains were analyzed by scientists and staff from the DPAA Laboratory and the Republic of Korea's Ministry of National Defense Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification (MAKRI) during a joint forensic review conducted in the days prior to the ceremony. Working cooperatively and thoroughly, they concluded that the 147 individual remains are of South Korean origin, and seven of the remains have been individually identified and are pending final testing once they are returned to South Korea.

    The ceremony’s other principal, U.S. Navy Adm. Philip S. Davidson, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, recognized the significance of this joint operation and its importance to the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance.

    “The alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States is a special bond built on mutual trust, shared values and an enduring friendship,” said Davidson.

    Out of the 147 sets of remains being repatriated, 77 of those were a part of the 55 boxes of remains handed over to the U.S. by North Korea in July 2018 as part of the Singapore Summit agreement between President Trump and Chairman Kim.

    The ROK flag-draped transfer cases that contain the remains were placed on a ROK Air Force KC-330 aircraft and returned to South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in welcomed the remains home on June 25, the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

    “We also pay tribute to our Korean War veterans and their families, along with the families of fallen service members and those still missing in action. These heroes marched into battle to protect and defend a nation and the region,” Davidson said.

    To view the ceremony, please visit the archived link at

    For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at, find us on social media at or call (703) 699-1420/1193



    Date Taken: 06.23.2020
    Date Posted: 06.26.2020 00:33
    Story ID: 372865
    Location: HONOLULU, HI, US 

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