Legionnaires in South Korea joined their commanders, Michael Napsey of Col. Lewis L. Millet Post 38 and Charles Woods of Ernesto P. Golez Post 37, during a Korean War repatriation ceremony held at US Army Garrison on 28 April 2016. The remains of 15 South Koreans and two Americans killed during the Korean War were returned home during the ceremony.
The repatriation of South Korean soldiers killed while fighting in the North is relatively rare, as the bitter enemies remain technically at war after the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice. However, some remains were accidentally excavated by U.S. teams searching for their own dead under a now-defunct agreement with North Korea.
After a 21-gun salute and the sounding of Taps, the US Military Honor Guards carried a casket, covered with a U.N. flag, containing the American soldiers’ remains to a black hearse. The other American soldiers’ remains, also covered with the U.N. flag were carried into a SUV by the US Military Honor Guards. South Korean soldiers then collected the 15 boxes draped with the South Koreans' flag from a long table and carried them to a white bus decorated with a yellow wreath.
South Korean search teams found the two sets of American remains last year in Yanggu province near the Demilitarized Zone, the site of fighting involving the 9th Infantry Division in the summer and fall of 1951. Over 7,800 Americans who fought in the war are still listed as missing.
The South Korean soldiers’ remains were recovered by teams with the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency operating in North Korea in 2000-2004. They were found in several places, including Kujang, Unsan and on the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, an area that saw some of the fiercest fighting during the Korean War.
Historian, Col. Lewis L. Millet Post 38, Seoul, South Korea