Throughout most of the twentieth century, depending on the capabilities of the military mortuary services and the time limits set by government, the bodies of the American fallen in foreign wars have been repatriated home to their families. In the Korean War the conditions of combat posed large challenges to the recovery and return of bodily remains. Almost half a century after that conflict, the American missing in Korea have become significant players within the government's expanding efforts that were prompted in answer to demands to locate American soldiers who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. The essay traces the background to U.S. military mortuary services and the operation in the Korean War and in the subsequent joint expeditions in North Korea. The analysis concludes that in most of these ventures the outlay of resources has produced few remains.
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