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Cpl. Luther Herschel Story, Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient and MIA for 73 Years, is Home

Cpl. Luther Herschel Story, Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient and MIA for 73 Years, is Home

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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Advances in DNA technology is making possible more cases such as this.

A friend is a geneaologist who has worked with the DPAA and families with missing soldiers to determine their identities. There is an entire section of unidentified dead at the National Cemetery of the Pacific (the “Punchbowl”) known as the “X-unknowns” as they are listed as “X-(number)” in lieu of a name. More of these men are being identified but as descendants die off, opportunities to collect familial DNA are decreasing and many may never be known.

There are still many Americans whose remains have been located in the remote regions of India, however our government hasn’t spent much time nor effort to recover them. You’ll find many of their stories here:

How sad is it when you realise there is no place for a man with gonads like his in todays armed forces.

We will never forget those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Welcome home, soldier.

I knew a WWII vet that never wore his dogtags in combat because if he were killed, his wife would get a year of MIA pay before he was declared dead.

texansamurai | May 29, 2023 at 9:27 pm

rip warrior–welcome home

I had the honor of knowing another hero from the Korean war. Allen Plue.

I bring Allen’s name up because a very similar story who recieved some serious medals for similar action (but survived) and I’ll tell what I know of him as a representation of the life that was cut short. He was just a little guy, but saved a ton of lives and knocked the NK back by jumping into a machine gun position when everything was lost. Later being a fellow Free mason, John Wayne requested Allen be his aide while shooting war footage later on while he was still serving in the Vietnam era. The two hit it off pretty well (I’m told). Later he was known to connect with guys fresh out of the military and help them get settled into civilian life and VERY highly regarded among them… some names you might recognize as they’ve been portrayed in movies.

I knew Allen in the last few years of his life. I barely knew the unseen pillar of the community but saw the influence of what he’d done among men I know and respect. He was practically a fossil. The guy is on his death bed and still having happy hour with us young bucks- his wife sending snacks along with him. At his own memorial celebration this widow was serving up food for all the attendees.

You have to be pretty tone deaf to not appreciate the quality of men whose lives were cut short fighting for this thing called freedom that so many take for granted and even more just vote away year after year.

Anyway I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say this is the fabric of the man who is just now coming home. If I’m wrong by half, it gives no less gravity to the sacrifice of him and his family nor the vacancy in the community that was deprived of this man.

My uncle was flying in C-119 Flying Boxcars when friendly fire downed his plane in Korea.