Saundra Holland said she lost her breath when she first learned her uncle, consider missing in action from the Korean War for the past 62 years, had been identified.
“I could believe it when I read the JournalNews and first learned about.
“It’s a real big deal that my uncle’s remains have been identified, I’m just real excited,” Holland said.
The remains of Army Cpl. Clyde E. Anderson of Hamilton, Ohio, were flown Wednesday to the Dayton International Airport. An honor guard transferred Anderson’s flag-draped casket from a Delta Air Lines jet to an awaiting hearse as some of his family looked on.
Anderson is scheduled to be buried with full military honors at noon Saturday in Blanchester.
The JournalNews first reported Tuesday that Anderson’s remains were among those military forensic scientists worked for nearly two decades to identify.
The skeletal remains were commingled in 208 boxes of remains returned from North Korea between 1991 and 1994.
As many as 400 individual remains were believed to be in the boxes.
Anderson, then a 24-year-old private first class, went missing in action in late November 1950 during an overwhelming ambush by Chinese forces at the Chosin Reservoir. Anderson, who was assigned to a medical company, was driving a Jeep in a convoy at the time of the ambush.
The Army continued Anderson’s status as an MIA and promoted him to the rank of corporal. In December 1953, a review board amended his status to presumed dead.
“I had a chill go through me and then a sense of relief,” said Anderson’s niece, Carol Snider, 63, of Bowersville, when she found out. “He’s back on home ground now and it’s another step closer (to being laid to rest).”
Snider said the arrival of her uncle’s remains “was an amazing ceremony. I was worrying so much but everything fell into place... After talking about it for about a month, it’s actually happening.”
In 2002, Snider along with one of her brothers, Dennis Benningfield, 60, of Wilmington, provided blood samples for DNA analysis for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii.
More than 7,900 Americans who fought in the Korean War remain unaccounted for, according to the Defense Department. The department is using forensic and DNA technology to identify remains returned to the United States, officials said.
About 30 days ago, Snider was notified that the Army could positively identify the remains of her uncle.
The news of Anderson’s return to Ohio is also helping to re-unite other family members who had lost touch with each other over the years.
Holland contacted the JournalNews/Middletown Journal in an effort to contact Snider.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Snider called Holland, who said it was the first time the two had spoken to each other in more than 20 years.
“It’s a sad way to meet again,” Holland said. “We all used to be close and maybe this will bring the family together again.”
Holland said she was trying to reach her two brothers about the news.
However, she said has no way to get to Saturday’s funeral and burial services and is hoping to find a way there.
“I wish there were more family members here to see this,” Holland said. “It’s sad that other family members have died and never knew what happened to him. No one had any closure but this may open new doors for us.”
The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News
Distributed by MCT Information Services