Washington D.C. – Marking the 66th anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, the three remaining Korean War veterans in Congress, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), joined by Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), and Sam Johnson (R-TX), introduced House Resolution 799 that calls on the U.S. government to resume talks with North Korea to account for thousands of American men and women from the Korean War (1950-1953). Between 1954 and 2005, joint U.S.-North Korea teams successfully conducted recovery missions that identified and returned thousands of Americans. Yet these efforts were suspended in 2005, despite the fact that the remains of 5,300 out of 8,000 total number of unaccounted Korean War veterans are estimated to be in North Korea.
“More than five thousand brave American soldiers who fought in the Korean Conflict for our country remain unaccounted for. That is simply unacceptable. As a veteran of the Korean Conflict, I feel honor bound to ensure we do everything we can to bring their remains home. After all our fighting men in Korea sacrificed, it is our duty to make sure we do everything to provide them and their families some measure of peace. I am proud to join with my fellow veterans of the Korean Conflict in ensuring the United States reengages the North Korean government on this issue,” said Conyers, who served in the National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.
|Dean of the U,S. House|
John Conyers, Jr.
“I am grateful to my colleagues and fellow Korean War veterans for working together to ensure that we bring these veterans home. This resolution would ensure that the heroic service members of the Korean War are identified and brought back to their loved ones in the United States, where they belong. We have a responsibility to our veterans to make sure we do not forget their sacrifices made to defend the freedoms we enjoy. Their families deserve peace,”said Rangel, a decorated veteran, who has been awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
“With the 66th Anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War around the corner, it is important we remember those American forces who remain unaccounted for from this war. As a Korean War veteran and former Prisoner of War, I believe we owe our fallen brothers in arms every last effort to provide a proper and dignified return to home. I'm proud to join my fellow Korean War veterans, Congressman Rangel and Congressman Conyers, in this noble cause,” said Rep. Johnson, a decorated war hero, who spent his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, during which he flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Johnson endured nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi, including 42 months in solitary confinement.
“The lifetime hope for thousands of Americans is to bring home their loved one still missing in North Korea. It is a wound that never healed. The path to finding that closure will open only when North Korean and U.S. leaders decide to pursue this humanitarian mission other than their political differences. It can be done. It has been done. It is time to do so again. Thank you to Representatives Rangel, Conyers and Johnson, who are keeping the mission alive to help fulfill the promise that no one's father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin or comrade in arms is left behind in war," said Rick Downes, President of the Coalition of Families of Korean & Cold War POW/MIAs, and son of Hal Downes, who went missing in action in North Korea in 1952.
As recently as this year, North Korea has reported uncovering the remains of American veterans- but the fate of these remains is unknown due to construction and development. H.Res 799 calls on the U.S. Government to resume talks with North Korea regarding the research, investigation, recovery, and identification of missing and unaccounted Korean War veterans.
“While we will never be able to fully end the lingering pain of the families, we must try to bring closure,” said Rangel,“We will keep fighting to bring home our comrades in arms.”
Rangel, Johnson, and Conyers have previously worked together to introduce and pass legislation that supports veterans of the Korean War, including H.Res.384 - Calling for a formal end of the Korean War; H.Con.Res 91, Encouraging reunions of divided Korean American families; H.Con.Res.41 - Encouraging peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula (Passed in 2013); H.Res. 618 - Expressing support for designation of 2012-2013 as the "Year of the Korean War Veteran" (Passed in 2012); H. Res 376 - Calling for Repatriation of POW/MIAs and Abductees in North Korea (Passed in 2011); H.J.Res.86 - Recognizing the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and Reaffirming U.S.-Korea Alliance (Passed in 2010); and the Korean War Veterans Recognition Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-41).
Below is the full text of H.Res 799 calling for U.S. Government to resume talks with North Korea on Korean War POW/MIAs:
Calling on the United States Government to resume talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regarding the research, investigation, recovery, and identification of missing and unaccounted members of the United States Armed Forces from the Korean War.
Whereas more than 36,000 members of the United States Armed Forces died and nearly 103,000 were wounded during the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950;
Whereas of the approximately 8,000 members of the United States Armed Forces who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, the remains of at least 5,300 Americans are believed to be in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (in this resolution referred to as “North Korea”);
Whereas the United States and North Korea have a precedent of working together on issues related to American prisoners of war/missing in action (POW/MIAs) from the Korean War;
Whereas North Korea has intermittently returned the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces found in North Korea, including several thousand sets of remains in 1954, and varying numbers of remains in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2003;
Whereas United States operations in North Korea to recover the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces were suspended in 2005;
Whereas the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces in North Korea are being lost due to construction and development, the passing of North Korean observers of United States plane crashes, and inclement weather conditions;
Whereas North Korea has reported uncovering the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces in North Korea through agriculture and construction projects as recently as 2016;
Whereas not all of the remains of Korean War veterans located at the National Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii (The Punch Bowl) have been identified;
Whereas members of the Coalition of Families of Korean & Cold War POW/MIAs, the National League of POW/MIA Families, the National Alliance of Families, Rolling Thunder, the Korean War Veterans Association, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and thousands of families and veterans are yearning and advocating for the accounting of their loved ones and comrades in arms of the Korean War; and
Whereas the mission of the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing United States personnel;
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives calls upon the United States Government to resume talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to make substantial progress in the research, investigation, recovery and identification of missing and unaccounted members of the United States Armed Forces from the Korean War.Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©