United Nations Command at Osan Air Base in South Korea hosted a repatriation ceremony Friday to honor six service members who died during the Korean War — a day after the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25.
The identities of the six service members are not known, but will be delivered to a forensic lab in Hawaii where the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will seek to identify them and notify their families.
United Nations Command U.S. Army Col. David Bowlus offered a prayer during the ceremony before the remains were carried in a casket onto an aircraft headed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
“Although separated from their countrymen, they were never forgotten. Although once lost, they are now found,” Bowlus said. “In this solemn moment, we thank you for their noble sacrifice. God grant to these your servant’s eternal rest, and may their return bring peace to all who have prayed and waited in hope for this day.”
“Our fallen comrades honored their country in life, and we, on behalf of our grateful nations, honor them now,” Bowlus said.
United Nations Command spokesperson Canadian Armed Forces Maj. Susan Magill told Stars and Stripes that experts believe the remains belong to U.S. service members. United Nations Command did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Military Times.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 5.7 million service members served during the Korean War era. The conflict took the lives of approximately 36,574 Americans, wounded another 103,284 before the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 to halt hostilities.
Additionally, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency estimates there are more than 7,500 U.S. personnel unaccounted for from the conflict.
Earlier this week, the largest repatriation of remains of South Korean soldiers who fought with U.S. troops during the Korean War was held Tuesday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. A total of 147 remains were identified as being of South Korean origin by the South Korean origin by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification.
Another reparations ceremony was subsequently held Thursday in Seoul, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.