62 years later: soldier's remains found and returned to family
Wed, 10 Apr 2013 16:20:45 GMT —
A soldier has come home to Conway, more than 60 years after he went missing in action in Korea.
Master Sgt. Ernest Grainger was 25 years old and already a World War II veteran when he went missing.
, at the Charleston airport, the remains of Sgt. Grainger, in a flag-draped casket, finally returned to the state where he was born.
Accompanied by a military honor guard, Sgt. Grainger's casket made the 100 mile trip back to his hometown, escorted by police and motorcycles from the Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder.
Grainger, a member of the Army's 21st Infantry Regiment, disappeared near Chochiwon, Korea in 1950.
Last June, his remains were found in a grave by South Korean officials who were looking for their own missing in action.
"The remains were turned over to the U.S. and sent to Hawaii and through different forensic testing, including DNA, they were able to determine it was my (great) Uncle Ernest," said Grainger's great niece, Jody Mishoe of Conway.
Mishoe never knew her great uncle, and her mother, Kathleen Hubbard, was only 14 when Grainger went missing, but Mishoe says her mother has nothing but fond memories of him.
"From what she can recall he was a very good natured person who was well-liked. He liked to joke and kid around. Very fond of children, which is probably why she has such good memories of him."
Mishoe says those who still remember Sgt. Grainger finally have a sense of closure.
At the same time, other veterans can welcome home a fallen hero.
"Our involvement is to make sure that any fallen veteran receives the honor and respect on their funeral that they deserve," said Wayne LaFon of the Patriot Guard Riders.
"I'll be happy when we can account for everybody that's missing, so that we don't have any of this situation in times to come," added Bruce Hutchison of Little River, president of the Grand Strand chapter of Rolling Thunder.
A grave in Conway that has been empty for so many years will soon be filled. And for family members like Jody's Mishoe's mother, the end of this 63-year mystery is bittersweet.
"Finding this news that he definitely has been confirmed as killed in action, it has sort of been for her like he has just now died," Mishoe said.
Sgt. Grainger will be buried at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Conway on Saturday. He will be laid to rest with full military honors.