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Remains of 7 S. Korean troops killed during Korean War return homeBy Yonhap
Published : July 26, 2023 - 21:58
The remains of seven South Korean soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War returned home from the United States on Wednesday, after they were initially thought to be US war dead and sent to America.
A ceremony marking the remains' return took place at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, after a South Korean Air Force KC-330 transport aircraft carrying the remains arrived from Hawaii.
The latest sets of remains were among those excavated in South and North Korea and sent to the US They were later identified as fallen South Korean soldiers through a joint analysis by the allies.
One set was confirmed to belong to Pfc. Choi Im-rak, who served as part of the Korean Augmentation to the US Army program, better known as KATUSA, during the war. He died during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in December 1950 at the age of 19.
President Yoon Suk Yeol and other senior South Korean and US officials, including Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, US Forces Korea Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, attended the ceremony.
Prior to the event, Yoon met with Choi's bereaved family members and assured them that his remains would receive the highest military honors upon their arrival, according to the presidential office.
Earlier, a ceremony marking the handover of the remains took place at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii on Tuesday (local time), with the attendance of senior South Korean and US officials, including Seoul's Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul and US Indo-Pacific Command commander Adm. John C. Aquilino.
"The handover and repatriation of the troop remains is the fruit of joint efforts by South Korea and the US to fulfill the noble mission to remember the great heroes, who safeguarded the Republic of Korea's freedom, forever, and take responsibility for them until the end," Shin was quoted as saying by Seoul's defense ministry.
At the handover ceremony, Choi's remains were delivered to the South Korean side via the UN Command. S. Cpo. Cho Ho-jong, a member of Choi's bereaved family, was present to reunite with his late uncle.
Since 2012, South Korea has received the remains of 313 South Korean troops, including the latest sets, on seven occasions from the US Of them, the identities of 19 sets have been confirmed through DNA and other forms of analysis. (Yonhap)
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