After 73 Years of In-Processing, Medal of Honor Recipient Finally Has Remains Returned to Georgia

Steve Cukrov /
Steve Cukrov /

The Korean War is often considered the “forgotten war” by many who fought in it. By not receiving the respect WWII was given or even the acknowledgment of failure that came with Vietnam, they have felt left behind.

Perhaps no one more so than 18-year-old PFC Luther Herschel Story.

Back on September 1st, 1950, PFC Story was assigned with A Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, and was engaged with the enemy in Agok, on the Naktong River. While there, his unit was surrounded by three Battalions of North Korean soldiers. These troops had surrounded Story’s unit and made them completely cut off.

Jumping on a machine gun, PFC Story aimed the Koreans attempting to charge the river in great numbers. Killing or injuring over 100 of them per his Medal of Honor citation. With his company commander calling for a retreat, Story gathered grenades and heaved them into an approaching truck loaded with Korean troops and ammunition.

However, Story was injured and knew what that would mean. “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,” per his citation.

Roughly a month after he went missing the US military recovered a body in the area where he was last seen. Unable to be identified, he was interred with his other unidentified brothers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Uninterred in 2021, Story’s remains were among several hundred that were hoped to be identified among a bigger push to get these brave men home.

With DNA samples from his closest living relative, a niece named Judy Wade as well as that from her late mother, Story was identified and coming home. Buried on Memorial Day, Story received the full military honors that he so rightly deserved. While 37,000 of his brothers died on those front lines, per the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency over 7,500, or 20% of them remain unidentified to this day.