WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Boxes carrying the remains of what are believed to be U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War are on their way home.
North Korea agreed to repatriate the remains after a meeting with President Donald Trump earlier this summer. On Wednesday, what are believed to be the remains of 55 fallen American soldiers were given a military salute before being loaded onto planes headed for U.S. soil – for the first time in 65 years.
Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Hawaii to be on hand when the remains arrive. Traveling with him was Rick Downes whose father died when the bomber he was in was shot down over North Korea.
Downes told CBS News he will cautiously await the results of forensic tests to see if his father is among those coming home.
“You have to really watch your heart here because this all could just fizzle. This could be nothing, it could be everything,” he said.
Historians and scientists will work on identifying the remains, which experts say could take anywhere from days to decades.
One set of dog tags was included in the remains, that family has already been notified.
There are 53-hundred service members still missing in Korea.
North Korea returned 229 sets of remains from 1990 through 2005. However, Pyongyang stopped returning the remains as relations between the two countries deteriorated following North Korea’s increased development of its nuclear weapons program.