Welcome home, Sir.
U.S. Army Cpl. Luther Herschel Story is home after being MIA for 73 years.
No one knew what happened to Story after September 1, 1950. The North Koreans started to surround the 9th Infantry Regiment. Story thought his “injuries would slow down his company, so he stayed behind to cover their withdrawal.”
The government gave Story the Medal of Honor in 1951 for his heroic actions:
A savage daylight attack by elements of 3 enemy divisions penetrated the thinly held lines of the 9th Infantry. Company A beat off several banzai attacks but was bypassed and in danger of being cut off and surrounded. Pfc. Story, a weapons squad leader, was heavily engaged in stopping the early attacks and had just moved his squad to a position overlooking the Naktong River when he observed a large group of the enemy crossing the river to attack Company A. Seizing a machine gun from his wounded gunner he placed deadly fire on the hostile column killing or wounding an estimated 100 enemy soldiers. Facing certain encirclement the company commander ordered a withdrawal. During the move Pfc. Story noticed the approach of an enemy truck loaded with troops and towing an ammunition trailer. Alerting his comrades to take cover he fearlessly stood in the middle of the road, throwing grenades into the truck. Out of grenades he crawled to his squad, gathered up additional grenades and again attacked the vehicle. During the withdrawal the company was attacked by such superior numbers that it was forced to deploy in a rice field. Pfc. Story was wounded in this action, but, disregarding his wounds, rallied the men about him and repelled the attack. Realizing that his wounds would hamper his comrades he refused to retire to the next position but remained to cover the company’s withdrawal. When last seen he was firing every weapon available and fighting off another hostile assault. Private Story’s extraordinary heroism, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and were in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the military service.
The government found remains in October 1950 but no one identified the bodies. They buried them in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific as Unknowns.
Officials declared Story dead on September 1, 1953.
Story’s sister Gwendolyn gave her DNA to the Pentagon in 2017 on her deathbed. Her daughter Judy Wade also donated her DNA:
They were compared to a set of remains at the Punch Bowl.
“They were a near-perfect match,” Wade said.
She learned on April 22 that her uncle had been found.
She received his remains on May 24.
“It might have been too much for Mommy,” said Wade. “She had been so long without him. She always believed that his body was lost, that they couldn’t find his body. It might have been too much for her to handle.”
Wade is relieved of a burden that has haunted the Story family for eight decades.
“I don’t have to worry about finding somebody to carry the torch of waiting for him to come home,” she said.
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