By Kathryn Watson CBS News September 20, 2018, 2:45 PM First soldier remains sent from North Korea identified
Last Updated Sep 20, 2018 5:47 PM EDT
The first remains of soldiers killed in the Korean War and sent from North Korea have been identified as belonging to Army Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel of Indiana and Army Pfc. William H. Jones of North Carolina, President Trump shared through Twitter on Thursday.
The successful identifications are the first announced from the 55 boxes of Korean War remains repatriated from North Korea this summer. The return of the remains was a part of the agreement President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un reached from their Singapore summit in June. The president has long cited the return of those remains as one of his key achievements from that summit, as the White House says preparation for a potential second meeting is in the works.
"Army Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel, 32, of Vernon, Indiana, and Army Pfc. William H. Jones, 19, of Nash County, North Carolina, are the first American remains from……North Korea to be identified as a result of my Summit with Chairman Kim," the president tweeted Thursday afternoon. "These HEROES are home, they may Rest In Peace, and hopefully their families can have closure."
Jones, according to the Pentagon, was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. The Defense Department says he was a part of attacks against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces near Pakchon, North Korea. On Nov. 26 of 1950, he could not be accounted for, and was reported as missing in action.
McDaniel, according to the Pentagon, was a medic with the 8th Cavalry Regiment Medical Company. His unit, too, engaged with the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces in North Korea. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950, after his unit could not locate him.
The process of identifying those soldiers is a challenging one. Roughly 7,700 U.S. service members from the war are unaccounted for, although the Defense for POW and MIA Accounting Agency has DNA samples for more than 90 percent of those soldiers.
It's unclear how long it will take to identify the remaining service members, although it may take years, not months.
Vice President Mike Pence accepted the remains in August, in a somber ceremony in Hawaii. The Korean War killed roughly 36,000 Americans from 1950 to 1953.