Repatriation ceremony for Korean War remains set at Yongsan
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — For the first time since 1999, remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers unearthed during joint recovery operations in North Korea will be repatriated at a U.S. base in South Korea.
The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. Thursday at Yongsan’s Knight Field and is open to the base community, officials said.
According to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command officials, some two dozen sets of remains were recovered in the latest searches near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. The mission kicked off in early April.
Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell, 8th Army commander, and Jerry Jennings, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel, are to give remarks.
The remains are to be transported to the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii for identification testing.
Pentagon figures show that some 1,100 GIs remain missing from the Chosin Reservoir campaign, fought in November and December 1950.
A second JPAC team conducted recovery operations in Unsan County, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. That area was the site of battles in November 1950.
In recent years, remains recovered in South Korea or other locations have been honored at similar Yongsan ceremonies. But this is the first time since May 1999 that remains recovered in North Korea have been repatriated in South Korea, recovery officials said Monday. The 1999 ceremony took place in the DMZ truce village of Panmunjom; many others since then have been held at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to Collier Field House, officials said.