Army corporal's remains returned home after more than 65 years
By ANGELA TURNER | The Times-Tribune | Published: August 27, 2020
CORBIN, Ky. (Tribune News Service) — After more than 65 years, the remains of Corbin native and former Army Cpl. Billie Joe Hash were finally returned to his hometown Wednesday afternoon.
Hash was a member of the Army’s Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division during the Korean War.
In November to December 1950, Hash and his division were part of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, a fierce 17-day battle in which 30,000 U.S., Republic of Korea (ROK) and British were surprise-attacked by more than 100,000 Chinese soldiers in the harsh North Korean winter where temperatures regularly fell to 25 degrees below zero.
More than 1,000 American service members died and another nearly 5,000 went missing in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Hash was one of those soldiers.
Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus said she can’t imagine what the family must have gone through not having closure.
“It just breaks my heart,” Razmus said ahead of his arrival into town. “It does me good to know he’s coming home and has a final resting place here on U.S. soil.”
Being a mother to boys, Razmus said this strikes her in a unique way.
Hash will have a flag in Nibroc Park along with other local fallen soldiers.
Ronald and Melissa Gray live in the Tri-County but were in Lexington Wednesday morning when they ran into the procession for Hash. Gray said she had read about Hash earlier that morning. They ended up following the procession back to Corbin and decided they would come on down to Main Street and pay their respects.
Hash was reported missing in action Dec. 6, 1950. He was presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953. He was 18 at the time.
Today, the Department of Defense (DOD) investigates losses in South Korea with the assistance of U.S. forces in Korea and the Korean government.
From 1990-1994, North Korea exhumed and returned 208 boxes of remains. However, DOD scientists estimate that as many as 400 individuals could be represented in these 208 boxes.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Hash’s remains were accounted for on May 27, 2020.
According to the DOD, more than 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.