The remains of Army Cpl Luther Herschel Story, a US war hero who died during the Korean War, have been returned to his family after 73 years.
Cpl Story, just 18 years old when he was presumed killed in action on 1 September 1950, was covering his company's withdrawal after sustaining injuries. Although his remains were recovered approximately a month later, the forensic techniques available at the time were unable to ascertain his identity.
However, through the utilization of modern DNA analysis, the military achieved a breakthrough in April, successfully matching Cpl Story's remains to his family. With this long-awaited identification, Cpl Story will receive a military burial on Monday near his hometown of Americus, Georgia, bringing closure to his loved ones and honouring his sacrifice.
Cpl Story's remarkable courage and heroism during the Korean War are well-documented. While his company faced a fierce daylight assault, he displayed exceptional bravery by reportedly neutralizing approximately 100 enemy soldiers through his actions. Unfortunately, Cpl Story was never seen alive after the battle, leaving his fate shrouded in uncertainty.
Posthumously, Cpl Story was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military distinction in the United States, for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" in engaging North Korean soldiers. In 1951, his father received the prestigious medal on his behalf. The US army award citation praised Cpl Story's extraordinary heroism, aggressive leadership, and unwavering dedication to duty, highlighting his indomitable spirit and adherence to the esteemed traditions of military service.
Cpl Story's funeral procession on Monday will be a solemn affair, accompanied by a police escort with flashing lights that will guide his casket to its final resting place. His niece, Judy Wade, expressed her relief and gratitude that her uncle's remains have finally been identified after years of uncertainty. She shared that the family had always feared he would never return home, but now they can find solace in knowing that Cpl Story will be laid to rest in his hometown, bringing a sense of closure and peace.
For decades, Cpl Story's unidentified remains lay interred alongside other unknown service members at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. It was only in 2021, as part of a comprehensive military effort to identify fallen soldiers, that his remains were unearthed, leading to the long-overdue reunion with his family. The announcement of his identification was made by President Joe Biden during a state visit by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, underscoring the significance of Cpl Story's sacrifice and the enduring bonds between nations forged through shared history.