Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Remains of US serviceman sent back to US

Remains of US serviceman sent back to US

Remains of US serviceman sent back to US

3USremains1.jpg
3USremains1.jpg

TANG CHHIN SOTHY/ AFP

US soldiers carry a flag-draped coffin containing the remains of a US soldier during a repatriation ceremony at Phnom Penh International Airport on March 1. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting of Command (JPAC) believes there are 55 missing US soldiers still in Cambodia.

The remains of a missing American serviceman believed killed

during the last stage of US

military involvement in Indochina in 1975 were repatriated March 1 in a

ceremony at Phnom Penh

International Airport.

To the sound of Taps,

a coffin draped in a US flag

was placed aboard a US

military plane bound for Hickman Air Force Base, Hawaii to undergo DNA and forensic identification.

“At a time when our country continues to send its sons and

daughters to the far corners of the earth, our gathering here today is a

poignant reminder that their sacrifices will not be forgotten,” said US

Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli.

General Pol Soroeun formally turned over the remains to the US Ambassador.

The deputy commander in chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and chairman

of the Cambodia POW/MIA Committee offered his “sincere condolences and sympathy

to the American people and the families of the missing members in their

service.”

The body was found on the island of Koh Tang

during excavations performed by a joint Cambodian-US mission (JPAC) to account

for serviceman missing in action. The team has also been working in Ratanakkiri

province.

Koh Tang, about 100km off the southwest coast of Cambodia,

became one of the United States’ final battle sites of the Vietnam War when, in

May 1975, American and Khmer Rouge forces engaged following their seizure of

the SS Mayaguez.

JPAC has so far returned the remains of 29 US servicemen

and believes the remains of 55 more MIAs are still located in the country.

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