Illinois soldier ID’d from 55 boxes of remains returned by North Korea in 2018

Illinois soldier ID’d from 55 boxes of remains returned by North Korea in 2018

DECATUR, Ill. — The remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Asa E. Vance on Monday were brought to his family 70 years after he left Decatur, Illinois, to serve in the Korean War.

Niece Alma Andrews was on hand Monday when Vance’s remains were taken from a airliner’s cargo hold at St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport. The body was carried to a waiting hearse and escorted by an honor guard to Decatur.

Vance was a member of Company D, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, and was reported missing in action Dec. 2, 1950, near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Vance, 18 when he went missing, was listed as presumed dead by the Army in 1954.

Funeral services with full military honors for Vance will be at noon Friday in the First Christian Church in Springfield. Burial will follow at in the city’s Camp Butler National Cemetery.

“It’s going to be an interesting day, that’s for sure,” Andrews told the Herald-Review in Decatur.

Military members carry transfer cases from a C-17 at a ceremony marking the arrival of the remains believed to be of American service members who fell in the Korean War at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. North Korea handed over the remains last week. (Susan Walsh/AP)

A result of a 2018 meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un was the turning over of more than 55 boxes of war-dead remains to the United States. Some boxes contained remains recovered from Sinhung-ri, where Vance was reported missing in action. Analysts eventually identified Vance among the remains through testing of DNA from his relatives.

Vance was one of 15 children, all of whom have had died, Andrews said.

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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.