During a presentation ceremony in Arlington, Virginia, the sons of Army Master Sergeant Charles Hobert McDaniel received their father’s dog tag. The tag was among the items the North Koreans gave the United States with the recently repatriated remains.
One son, Charles Jr., told reporters the family talked about his father when they heard Korean War remains would be brought back to the U.S. and are prepared if his remains are not among the 55 boxes.
The dog tag, Charles Jr. added, does bring their family closer to having closure.
“In one small sense, we’re the most fortunate because we’re the only one that has a name now,” he said. “At least we have this and we’re thankful for that.”
“I have to say I didn’t think about the emotions that were very deep, even though I was a small boy and have very little memory of my father. But I sat there and cried for awhile and it took awhile to compose myself,” the former Army chaplain explained when he got the phone call.
Their father, who was a medic in the Army and had also served in World War II, had gone missing in the fall of 1950, when Charles Jr. was three and a half years old, with younger brother, Larry, being two years old.
Julio Rosas/IJR Julio Rosas/IJR
Here are Master Sgt. Charles Hobert McDaniel’s medals and dog tag, recently returned by North Korea. pic.twitter.com/YeFWWmau89
— Kristina Wong??? (@kristina_wong) August 8, 2018
After McDaniel was reported missing in action, his family returned to the U.S. and settled down in southern Indiana. The boys’ mother later remarried a doctor, who was an “outstanding” and “giving” person.
The ceremony took place after the Defense Department’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) provided an update on the identification process.
Kelly McKeague, director of the DPAA, stressed that the remains were given back to the U.S. because of the summit President Donald Trump held with North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, in June.
“The arrival of the remains of unreturned Korean War veterans in Hawaii was the poignant result of the commitment secured by President Trump and pledged by Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit,” McKeague said.
Boots, gloves, a helmet and US-army issued artifacts were also found in the 55 boxes handed over by North Korea. They likely won’t be able to associate items with service members though @ABC7News pic.twitter.com/U1wfWyaNzc
— Caroline Patrickis (@Cpatrickis) August 8, 2018
While the dog tag is significant, the DPAA revealed the North Koreans said they are unsure if McDaniel’s remains are in one of the 55 boxes; that is something only DNA testing can reveal.