Remains from
North Korea due

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Remains believed to be those of seven American soldiers missing in action from the Korean War will be repatriated to Hawaii Friday.

The ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base will mark the end of the first of this year's three search and recovery operations by a joint U.S.-South Korean operation. The next two will be held Saturday through Sept. 24 and Sept. 28-Oct. 29. More than 8,100 U.S. troops still are listed as missing in the Korean War.

The remains were first flown on an Air Force aircraft from Pyongyang, North Korea, with a military honor guard to Yokota Air Base in Japan, where a U.N. Command repatriation ceremony was held today.

Six of the seven sets of remains are believed to be those of U.S. Army soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division who fought against Chinese forces in November-December 1950.

The seventh set was recovered in the area along the Chong Chon River near the junction of Unsan and Kujang counties, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. The area was the site of battles between communist forces and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950.

In November 1950, 8th Army units suffered heavy casualties in battles with Chinese forces in Unsan County. The 1st Marine Division and Army's 7th Infantry Division also suffered heavy casualties in Chosin Reservoir battles with Chinese forces about the same time.

Since 1996, 23 MIA search operations have been conducted in North Korea, and 159 sets of remains have been recovered. Thirteen have been positively identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Twelve other sets of remains are being studied by forensic experts at the Army's Central Identification Laboratory at Hickam.

Other recovery teams are working in the Himalayas to search for the wrecks of two C-46 aircraft that crashed in Tibet during World War II. One plane was believed to have been carrying four people. There is no information on the passenger and crew manifest for the other.

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