US Soldier’s Remains From Korean War Returns Home After 61 Years

When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process: "See the people in the windows? They'll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They're going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should." © TODD HEISLER/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS

A friend of mine flew into Charlotte, NC a few nights ago and upon landing the Captain of the plane came over the intercom and announced that an American hero’s remains had been on board and was returning home after having been missing in action in N. Korea for 61 years.

According to Times News:

The remains of a U.S. soldier, Cpl. William Ray Sluss, taken prisoner and declared missing in action during the Korean War returned home to Scott County Thursday for burial after being gone for nearly 61 years.

Born in 1929 to Otis and Zola Sluss, the Scott County native enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 17 and served in the 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, during the Korean War.

Sluss was captured by enemy forces on Nov. 30, 1950, near Kunu-ri, North Korea, and died at POW Camp 5 on April 30, 1951. According to a Military Times database, Sluss was among those prisoners not returned to the United States at the end of the war. He was declared dead in 1954.

Sluss was posthumously awarded a Prisoner of War Medal.

An honor guard carries the casket containing the remains of Cpl. William Ray Sluss into Gate City Funeral Home Thursday. Photo by Ned Jilton II.

My friend told me that everyone on the plane was stunned.  An Army officer then stood up and thanked everyone in advance for their patience and he proceeded to exit the plane.  Outside of the window, the passengers could see the military men and women lined up awaiting this hero’s return.  And then a flag-draped coffin was removed from underneath the plane.  He said the emotions were overwhelming for everyone that was aboard the plane.  He said it was definitely an experience that he would never forget.

“We owe the utmost respect to any and all of those that have paid the supreme, ultimate sacrifice,” said Cunningham, a combat veteran who served with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. “We need to do what we can to show our respect and our regards in that manner.”

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