Remains Of 18-Year-Old Medal Of Honor Recipient Returning Home To Georgia After 73 Years

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The remains of an 18-year-old Medal of Honor recipient are coming home to Georgia after being identified in April, 73 years after he went missing.

Army Pfc. Luther Herschel Story was last seen alive Sept. 1, 1950, by fellow members of the 9th Infantry Regiment as North Korean troops closed in on them near the village of Agok on the Naktong River during the Korean War, CBS News reported Monday. Injured, Story opted to stay behind to cover his peers’ retreat so as not to slow them down.

“Realizing that his wounds would hamper his comrades he refused to retire to the next position but remained to cover the company’s withdrawal,” according to Story’s biography at the National Medal of Honor Museum. “When last seen he was firing every weapon available and fighting off another hostile assault.” (RELATED: US Medal of Honor Recipient And Korean War Hero Hiroshi Miyamura Dies At 97)

In October 1950, three different sets of remains were recovered near the site, but none were positively identified as belonging to Story, who was officially declared dead by the U.S. Army in 1953, the museum stated. Those three sets of remains were eventually buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific as Unknowns. In June 1951, General Omar Bradley presented the Medal of Honor to Story’s father, Mark Story, in a ceremony at the Pentagon, honoring the 18-year-old soldier for his “extraordinary heroism, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty,” according to the museum.

In June 2021, unidentified remains from the Korean War were exhumed by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as part of the Korean War Disinterment Plan to identify unknown remains through DNA analysis. Story’s remains were identified in April with mitochondrial DNA linking Story’s hitherto unknown remains to that of his late mother’s, CBS reported.

“In my family, we always believed that he would never be found,” Judy Wade, Story’s niece and his closest surviving relative, told the outlet.

Story will be laid to rest with military honors on Memorial Day at the Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia, giving his family closure after 73 years.

“I don’t have to worry about him anymore,” Wade continued. “I’m just glad he’s home.”