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SEOUL — The remains of two U.S. soldiers missing in action during the Korean War were identified and are being returned to their families, the Pentagon said.

Joint U.S.-North Korean recovery teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, recovered the remains during excavations in North Korea in 2001 and 2002.

Recovered were Cpl. John O. Strom of Fergus Falls, Minn., and Pfc. Lowell W. Bellar of Gary, Ind.

Bellar, born in 1931, is to be buried on July 15, according to a news release.

Bellar’s unit, Company M, 31st Infantry Regiment, was surrounded and overrun by Chinese communist forces near the Chosin Reservoir in northeast North Korea in November and December 1950. Regimental records show that Bellar was killed in action on Dec. 1, 1950, but his remains were missing for more than 50 years.

During a 2001 recovery mission, remains believed to be those of 12 people were recovered and Bellar’s remains were identified.

Strom’s unit, the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, came under attack by Chinese communist forces on Nov. 1, 1950, near Unsan village in North Korea, the Pentagon said.

Fighting raged several days as U.S. forces retreated. More than 380 soldiers were unaccounted for when the unit crossed friendly lines south of the Kuryong River on Nov. 4.

In July and August 2002, a recovery team investigated a site near Unsan and discovered human remains and other evidence. A villager also gave the team Strom’s dog tag.

Laboratory analysis confirmed the remains were of Strom.

About 78,000 Americans are missing in action from World War II; 126 missing from the Cold War; 1,800 missing from the Vietnam War; and about 8,100 missing from the Korean War.

Remains believed to be those of more than 220 American servicemen have been recovered in North Korea.

Visit the Defense Prison of War/Missing Personnel Office for more information.


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