Updated: 04/02/2014 15:21 | By Agence France-Presse

Remains of 'missing US soldiers' repatriated from Cambodia

Remains believed to be those of three American servicemen killed in Cambodia more than four decades ago during the Vietnam War were repatriated Wednesday for identification in the United States.


Remains of 'missing US soldiers' repatriated from Cambodia

US soldiers carry a flag-draped coffin containing what are believed to be the remains of a US soldier, during a repatriation ceremony at Phnom Penh International Airport on April 2, 2014 - by Siv Channa

The remains were recovered by a team of Cambodian officials and members of the US Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in eastern Kampong Cham province, according to the US embassy.

The team is tasked with searching for missing US personnel in Southeast Asia. 

"A few days ago, a joint team of Cambodians and Americans completed their most recent mission and recovered the possible remains of Americans missing in Cambodia," William Todd, US Ambassador to Cambodia, said at a solemn repatriation ceremony at Phnom Penh airport.

"Today, we honor colleagues who died far from home and whom we never knew," he said, adding he hoped their return "will ease the pain" of the fallen's families.

The remains, carried in three coffins draped in US flags, were flown on an American military plane bound for JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.

Further details on how the US military servicemen were killed were not immediately available.

Ninety American soldiers were originally missing in Cambodia from the Vietnam War, according to the US embassy, which said 37 individuals had been recovered and identified since the two countries began cooperating in the search in 1992, while 53 remain missing. 

Some 3.14 million Americans served in Vietnam during the war, which spanned most of the 1960s and continued until the fall of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975.

More than 58,000 Americans were killed.

In 1969 Washington began secretly bombing suspected communist base camps in Cambodia, which declared itself neutral during the war, and US ground troops were ordered into the country the following year.

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