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Private First Class Yun Who Died on a North Korean Battlefield during Korean War Returns Home 

Private First Class Yun Kyung-heok served as KATUSA during the war

Identified through North Korea-U.S. joint excavation of remains

‘The Return of the Fallen Hero’ event for his son and bereaved family

His remains return home from Hawaii in July

 Private First Class Yun Who Died

Nobody thought it would be possible, but the remains of another Republic of Korean soldier who died on a North Korean battlefield during the Korean War will return to the motherland in July. This is the fifth recovery from North Korea of the remains of Republic of Korean soldiers.

The remains that will be returned home this time are those of the late Private First Class Yun Kyung-heok, who is believed to have died in Gaecheon, South Pyeong-an Province in North Korea during the Korean War. Private Yun served as a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation Troops to the United States Army) belonging to the First Division of the U.S. Troops during the war, and gave up his life for the freedom of the country. 

The miraculous repatriation of the remains of Republic of Korean soldiers who died on North Korean battlefields was an achievement of the ’MOU for Excavation of Remains of Republic of Korean and U.S. soldiers’ signed in 2008 and the ’North Korea-U.S. Joint Excavation of Remains Program’ which was conducted in North Korea from 1996 to 2005. The remains of Private Yun were mixed amongst the remains of U.S. soldiers in the process of the North Korea-U.S. Joint Excavation of Remains Program, and were sent to the U.S. Defence POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) located in Hawaii. As his remains were suspected to be those of a Republic of Korean soldier, a DNA sample was taken to the Ministry of National Defense Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification (hereinafter referred to as MAKRI) early this year. Afterwards, MAKRI identified Private Yun through a DNA comparison with the samples collected from his bereaved family. His identification is the 128th identification of remains since the first excavation of remains in 2000.

Four sets of remains have already been returned home through the same process as Private First Class Yun. They are the remains of the late Privates First Class Lee Gab-soo, Kim Yong-soo, Yim Byeong-geun, and Jeong Jun-won, who were probably killed in the Jangjinho Battle. The souls of the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for their country have finally been returned from North Korea by way of Hawaii (US), a distance of about 15,000, to rest in their motherland. They now rest in peace at Daejeon National Cemetery.

Private First Class Yun Who Died

The remains of Private Yun, which are currently at DPAA in Hawaii, will be also returned home in July through the ‘event for the repatriation of the remains of Republic of Korean soldiers and U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War.’ On 19 June, the MAKRI visited Private Yun’s son, Yun Pal-hyun (age 68) in Daegu and had an event for ‘the return of the fallen hero’ to give his son a written identification and a plaque of consolation from the Minister of National Defense.

The event was attended by 30 persons, including Colonel Lee Hak-ki, commanding officer of MAKRI, and military officials, to pray for the repose of the deceased and comfort the bereaved family. “The aim of this excavation of the remains of Republic of Korean Soldiers killed in war is to implement the country‘s commitment to taking full responsibility for the fallen heroes who gave up their lives to protect the Republic of Korea. There are still 123,000 sets of remains of soldiers buried in unknown hills and fields. We will do our utmost to return these fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country to their families as soon as possible,” said Commanding Officer Lee. 



By Su-Yeol, Maeng < >

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