Vietnam and the United States Conduct 161st Repatriation Ceremony

. The search for remains of American soldiers missing in the Vietnam War, an enduring component of the US-Vietnam bilateral relationship, has helped identify the remains of 733 US service members.

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The representatives of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) and the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) held the 161st repatriation ceremony on June 27, handing over the remains thought to be associated with a US servicemember missing in action (MIA) from the war in Vietnam at the Danang International Airport in Danang City.

The ceremony was hosted by US Consulate General Susan Burns and VNOSMP Director Le Cong Tien, with the attendance of dignitaries from the US Embassy in Hanoi, Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), and other embassies.

Vietnam, US Hold the 161st Repatriation Ceremony
(Photo: American Center Ho Chi Minh City)

At the ceremony, the VNOSMP side handed over one set of remains to the DPAA, representing the result of the 151st joint field activity (JFA) from recovery operations in Nghe An, Quang Binh, and off the coast of Khanh Hoa Province. The 151st JFA started in mid-May and will conclude at the end of July of this year.

Vietnamese and U.S. forensic specialists examined the remains on June 26, 2023 in Danang and determined that the remains might belong to a U.S. servicemember missing in action from the war in Vietnam. The U.S. side will transfer the remains to DPAA’s laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii for further verification.

Vietnam, US Hold the 161st Repatriation Ceremony
MIA cooperation is one of the longstanding pillars in the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relationship that seeks to settle the war legacies between the two countries (Photo: American Center Ho Chi Minh City)

Settling the war legacies

This year marks the 50th founding anniversary of the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and the 35th anniversary of the joint operation to search for US servicemen who were reported missing in action (MIA) during the war in Vietnam.

The joint humanitarian mission between the people of the two countries aims to locate and identify the US. servicemembers who went missing in the war in Vietnam. These sustained efforts have been implemented for 35 years by the two governments since 1988. To date, 733 US servicemembers MIAs have been identified.

The cooperation in searching for soldiers missing during wartime has played an active part in beefing up the bilateral ties over recent years and at the same time, helped both sides understand more about each other’s goodwill, thus fostering expansion of partnership in other areas.

Fanasy Nguyen Le