PHNOM PENH – Flags fluttered in a stiff breeze and men in uniform snapped to attention yesterday as three coffins carrying what are believed to be the remains of American soldiers killed in Cambodia during the Vietnam War were loaded onto a C-17 cargo plane destined for Hawaii.
There, forensics experts with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) will determine whether the remains contained inside the boxes should be added to the tally of the 37 missing American bodies so far recovered in the Kingdom.
There are still 53 unaccounted-for Americans believed to have died in Cambodia during an off-and-on military presence that stretched from the late 1960s into the mid-’70s.
Speaking at the ceremony at Phnom Penh International Airport, US Ambassador William Todd noted a personal connection to the conflict that claimed the men’s lives, before thanking the members of Cambodian POW/MIA Committee who aided in the effort to recover the remains.
“As the son of a combat helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam twice, I am truly privileged to be a part of this important ceremony,” Todd said.
“The United States formally requested the assistance of the Royal Government of Cambodia in conducting joint recovery operations in 1992,” he added. “Since then, Cambodia has graciously assisted with the recoveries and return of the remains of Americans who otherwise may have remained lost forever.”
US embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh said yesterday that the remains were located in Kampong Cham province, and that while they were contained in three coffins, the number and identities of the casualties will not be confirmed until the JPAC has completed its analysis. Read Full Story Click Here