Remains of Soldier Returned to Family After 59 Years
By Jung Sung-ki
The remains of a South Korean soldier killed in the Korean War have been identified through DNA sample tests and handed over to his family 59 years after the fratricidal war, the country's war remains recovery agency said Thursday.
This is the third time that the remains have been identified through DNA tests since the recovery work began in 2000, said the Ministry of National Defense's Killed in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI).
The remains of Pfc. Yang Son-ho were recovered in November 2007 in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province.
The remains of a total of 56 soldiers have been identified, but most of them were identified by belongings, such as canteens, dog-tags and helmets, the agency said.
According to MAKRI, Yang joined the military in September 1950 when he was 26 years old. Yang had a wife and a daughter.
He was assigned to the 32nd Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division and fought Chinese troops backing North Korea during the 1950-53 war.
About 138,000 South Korean soldiers lost their lives during what is often called the ``Forgotten War,'' while nearly 25,000 are listed as missing in action, according to the agency.
More than 130,000 service members have not yet been accounted for, while 8,100 U.S. military personnel are also still missing.
The Army began war remains recovery operations in 2000. The MAKRI was established seven years later.
To date, the remains of 3,367 soldiers have been recovered, less than 3 percent of the total unaccounted for from the war. Of them, the remains of 1,137, one-third of the total, were excavated last year.