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Medal of Honor recipient's remains identified 73 years after his death in Korean War

The remains of a U.S. Army corporeal posthumously given the nation's highest military award have been identified more than seven decades after he was declared missing overseas during the Korean War.

Luther H. Story was 19 years old at the time of his presumed death on September 1, 1950, authorities said on Wednesday. Although his remains were determined several years after that to be nonrecoverable, more contemporary DNA analyses allowed scientists to recently confirm the identity of Story's remains, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced in a news release.

Authorities say that Story, of Buena Vista, Georgia, was reported to be killed in action after his army unit was engaged in battle with the Korean People's Army near Naktong River, South Korea, on the first day of September 1950. But his remains were not recovered afterward, and Story was never listed as a prisoner of war. The U.S. Army issued a "presumptive finding of death" three years later on September 1, 1953.

In 1950, 11 sets of remains were found near Sangde-po, South Korea, eight of which were identified. The unidentified remains were then transported, alongside others considered unknown, to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also called the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

U.S. Army Corporeal Luther Story is pictured in this image provided by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Decades later, Story's remains were one of 652 unidentified sets that officials at the DPAA exhumed from the Punchbowl for additional DNA analyses in 2021. His identity was ultimately confirmed using dental, anthropological and mitochondrial DNA analyses, according to the agency.

While his remains were still missing, U.S. government officials posthumously awarded Story the Medal of Honor for his "conspicuous bravery" during the battle on Sept. 1, 1950, the White House and the Republic of Korea said in a joint statement acknowledging the corporeal being identified after 73 years.

"Corporal Story was awarded the nation's highest award for his heroic actions that day," the statement read, noting that Story is said to have remained at the battle site to stave off attackers, despite a serious injury, so that his comrades could withdraw.

"The supreme sacrifice and heroism of Corporal Luther Story is illustrative of the freedom, security, and prosperity the South Korean people have today," it said.

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