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
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
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
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.