Medal of Honor recipient's remains ID'd 73 years after Korea

April 26, 2023Associated Press
medal of honor, pusan korea, korean war

Weary from long duty, this U.S. soldier slumped down to rest alongside his machine gun dugout during the Korean War while Allied forces were guarding the small Pusan, Korea, perimeter, Aug. 9, 1950. AP photo by Max Desfor.

By COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The remains of a U.S. Army corporal killed during the Korean War and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor have been identified 73 years after he was declared missing, President Joe Biden said Wednesday during a welcome ceremony at the White House for South Korea's president.

Luther H. Story of Buena Vista, Georgia, was last seen on Sept. 1, 1950, wounded and fighting off North Korean attacks so his fellow soldiers could get to safety. U.S. officials said that Story “fearlessly stood in the middle of the road, throwing grenades" into a truck as his squad escaped.

“When last seen, he was firing every weapon available and fighting off another hostile assault,” U.S. officials said.

During the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, Pfc. Luther H. Story, Company A, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was gravely wounded during an assault by North Korean forces but held his position and allowed his comrades to bound away from contact. His sacrifice saved the lives of his platoon. For his actions, Story was awarded the Medal of Honor. Story joined the Army from Buena Vista, Ga. US Army photo.

He wasn't seen alive again, though his remains weren't found, and he wasn't taken as a prisoner. In 1951, Gen. Omar Bradley presented Story's father the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, at a Pentagon ceremony in 1951. On Jan. 16, 1954, the corporal was declared unrecoverable — his remains still missing.

Then, in June 2021, 652 people killed in the Korean War were disinterred from the the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. In that process, scientists were able to identify Story using DNA, dental and anthropological analysis. His remains had been recovered near Sangde-po, South Korea.

korea, korean war

President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, and his wife Kim Keon Hee visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. AP photo by Susan Walsh.

“Today, we can return him to his family, and to his rest,” Biden said from the South Lawn where he praised Story's bravery. "Because we never forget our troops.”

On Tuesday evening, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife, Kim Keon Hee, made an evening stop to the Korean War Memorial with Biden and first lady Jill Biden. They participated in a wreath-laying ceremony next to the memorial’s Pool of Remembrance. While they were there, the leaders met with Story's living relative, his niece Judy Wade and her spouse Joseph Wade.

Both nations continue to work to identify all missing soldiers.

Read Next: Army Chaplain Who Received Medal of Honor for Actions in Korea Accounted For

Associated Press
Associated Press

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting, founded in 1846.

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