- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

DRY RIDGE, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky family is preparing to bury the remains of a Korean War soldier, which were recently identified through DNA testing.

The Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/T14FSP) reports the remains of Sgt. Paul M. Gordon will return to the U.S. on Tuesday and will be interred Friday at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown.

Gordon joined the Army in 1949, shortly after graduating from Crittenden High School. He was sent to Korea, where he died in a prisoner of war camp in 1951 at the age of 20.

Family members say they wondered about his fate for decades.

“None of us really knew what happened to him,” said nephew Tony Gayhart of Burlington.

Military officials said scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used DNA from Gordon’s sister and brother, as well as other evidence, to make the identification.

Gayhart, who was born two years after his uncle disappeared, said he remembers as a young child looking through a scrapbook his grandmother kept. The story of his lost uncle “just tugged at my heart ever since I was a little bitty kid,” he said.

According to a statement from the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, Gordon was deployed in the vicinity of Wonju, South Korea, and was assigned to Company H, 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was listed as missing in action after a January 1951 battle.

According to other soldiers, Gordon was captured by the Chinese during the battle and taken to a POW camp, where he died in June.

In the early 1990s, North Korea handed over 208 boxes of human remains, some of which were thought to have been from near the camp where Gordon was held, according to the military statement.

Gayhart said many of Gordon’s family members, including two brothers and a sister - died without knowing his remains had been located.

He said his mother, Dorothy Gordon Gayhart, was “happy and sad.”

“She’s happy that her brother is finally coming home,” he said, “but she’s sad that it’s happening this way.”


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com

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