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News & Stories
News | Feb. 22, 2023

South Korea transfers remains to U.S. for Identification

By Sgt 1st Class Corey Idleburg Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

The Ministry of National Defense Agency for Killed in Action Recovery Identification (MAKRI) conducted a repatriation ceremony to transfer remains to the United Nations Command for analysis in the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) laboratory, February 22, 2023 in South Korea.

Republic of Korea Vice-Minister of National Defense Shin Boem Cul, was the senior official in attendance on behalf of the Republic of Korea to repatriate the remains.

“We will make continued endeavor to recover and return ROK and allied forces’ fallen heroes to their homelands,” the minister said.

A joint forensic analysis between scientists from MAKRI and DPAA found conclusively the remains were of an American. The joint review process established in August 2008 between the two organizations serves to investigate, recover and review all evidence obtained.

“The sacrifices our nations shared during the war are the foundation of the values we have shared since the war’s end,” said DPAA Director Kelly McKeague at the ceremony. “Despite the significant numbers of missing and steep challenges, we persevere together because we cannot forget the supreme sacrifice made by our Servicemen nor the answers and closure owed to their families. On behalf of the United States, I thank the civilian and military professionals of MAKRI for recovering these remains of a believed-to-be American.”

The remains will travel to the DPAA laboratory in Hawaii and fall under the DPAA’s Korean War Identification Project, which has identified more than 600 missing American service members.

“It is my fondest hope that this will result in the identification of another missing U.S. service member and bring solace to his family,” McKeague added.

Since 2000, there have been 26 sets of remains repatriated to the U.S. and 307 sets returned to the ROK. The accounting of missing military personnel from past conflicts is shared mission for both the U.S. and South Korea with both allies together to achieve this goal through, trust, cooperation and diplomacy.

As the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice approaches, more than 7,500 American heroes remain unaccounted for from the war.

To see the most up-to-date statistics on DPAA recovery efforts for those unaccounted for from the Korean War, go to the Korean War Factsheet at

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Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency PAO
Washington, D.C.
2300 Defense Pentagon
Attn: Outreach and Communications
Washington, D.C. 20301-2300