Monday, July 2, 2001

12 sets of remains due
here from Korean,
Vietnam wars

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Remains believed to be those of 12 servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam and Korean wars will arrive at Hickam Air Force Base next week.

The servicemen will be honored at a ceremony at 9 a.m. July 10 by a joint service honor guard as they are taken off an Air Force C-17 jet transport.

Following the ceremony, the remains will be taken to U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory for identification.

Eight sets of remains from the Vietnam War were recovered by military and civilian members of Joint Task Force-Full Accounting and the Central Identification Laboratory during search and recovery missions in Laos and Vietnam. The three from Laos will be repatriated on Saturday.

Four sets of remains from the Korean War were recovered during recent excavations in North Korea.

Meanwhile, a team of 89 military specialists from Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory and the Joint Field Operating Base, Hawaii (Stony Beach), will leave here Friday to begin recovery efforts in Vietnam.

Next Monday, team members will be joined by technical representatives from the Vietnamese government to begin joint investigations and remains recovery operations in nine Vietnamese provinces and cities.

Eight underwater cases involving aircraft losses are scheduled for investigation during the 30-day operation. In addition, five primary sites involving aircraft and ground losses are scheduled for excavation.

Since 1973 the remains of 619 MIA American service members have been identified and returned to their families. Currently, 1,966 Americans are unaccounted for from the war in Southeast Asia, 1,481 in Vietnam.

The 89 investigation and recovery team members consist of 49 Army, 11 Air Force, three Marine, 17 Navy personnel and nine Department of Defense civilians -- most of them based in Hawaii.

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