Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel was killed in the Korean War. File Photo courtesy of Charles McDaniel Jr.
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The Defense Department has identified the first two soldiers from among the 55 boxes of remains returned to the United States from North Korea in July.
Army Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel, 32, of Vernon, Ind., was identified Sept. 12, and Army Pfc. William H. Jones, 19, of Nash County, N.C., on Sept. 13.
The remains were returned as part of a deal President Donald Trump made with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their summit in Singapore.
"These HEROES are home, they may Rest In Peace, and hopefully their families can have closure," Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon, when the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the findings.
A lone dog tag found among the remains belonged to McDaniel.
McDaniel's son, Charles McDaniel Jr., told UPI in August he was stunned when he learned his father's dog tag was found among the remains repatriated from North Korea, he said.
"But you don't anticipate out of all those remains any would be of your father," he said. "I don't lean into that."
McDaniel Jr. was 3 when his father was killed. It was shortly after the North Korean army invaded the South, he said. Master Sgt. McDaniel's unit, deployed from Japan, had pushed the North Koreans back into their territory when the Chinese army attacked and surrounded his father's unit.
As a medic, McDaniel was at the front helping a wounded soldier. One of his friends, a fellow medic, said he thought McDaniel had been killed there, but he wasn't sure.
For 68 years, that was all his family knew.
Jones, the second man identified, went missing Nov. 26, 1950. His company had attacked the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces near Pakchon, North Korea, according to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency release.
"His unit made a fighting withdrawal, he could not be accounted for and was reported missing in action," the release said.
The agency is continuing DNA tests on the remains returned from North Korea. Thousands of American servicemen are still considered missing from that conflict.