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The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is asking the families of those who went missing during the Korean and Cold Wars to submit DNA in the hopes of identifying the remains North Korea turned over to the U.S. recently.

The 55 boxes of remains are believed to contain missing American servicemembers from the Korean War.

“Some 5,300 of 7,699 American unaccounted-for war dead are believed to be in North Korea, and 111 of our 126 Cold War missing are in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula, yet family reference samples on file only account for 91 percent of Korean War missing and 85 percent of Cold War losses,” said VFW National Commander Vincent “B.J.” Lawrence.

“We have to do better than that, and that’s why I’m calling on more than 1.6 million VFW and VFW Auxiliary members to canvas their neighborhoods and urge every MIA family — even distant relatives — to provide a family reference sample in the hope that the next identification announcement is their long-lost soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or contract civilian,” he said.

“According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, all immediate family members, as well as maternal and paternal relatives, are eligible to donate a family reference sample, which is essentially a cotton cheek swab,” the release said.

Relatives can contact a military service casualty officer for information on how to provide a DNA sample.

To contact such an officer, call the appropriate number below: United States Army: (800) 892-2490 United States Marine Corps: (800) 847-1597 United States Navy: (800) 443-9298 United States Air Force: (800) 531-5501 Department of State: (202) 485-6106Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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