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Remains From N. Korea Are Now Back on US Soil

The identification work is about to begin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 2, 2018 1:15 AM CDT
Vice President Mike Pence attends a ceremony with Commander of US Indo-Pacific Command Adm. Phil Davidson marking the arrival of the remains believed to be of American service members who fell in the...   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – The US military is beginning the painstaking process of analyzing remains said to be from the Korean War now that they're back on American soil after having been handed over by North Korea last week. Vice President Mike Pence and the top commander of US forces in Asia, Adm. Phil Davidson, formally received the remains contained in 55 caskets during an emotional and solemn ceremony Wednesday after they arrived by military cargo jets from South Korea, the AP reports. "They were husbands and fathers, brothers, and neighbors—long gone, but never lost to the memory of their loved ones," Pence said during the ceremony at a military base in Hawaii.

Each container was covered in an American flag and carried off the aircraft by one Marine, one sailor, one soldier, and one airman.The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will take the remains to a lab on the base, where forensic anthropologists will study bones and teeth to identify their race, gender, and age. Scientists will extract DNA and compare it to DNA samples collected from families of troops still missing from the war. The agency usually also relies on any items that may have been found with remains, like uniforms, dog tags, and wedding rings, to identify remains. But North Korea only provided one dog tag with the 55 boxes it handed over last week.

(Read more Korean War stories.)

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