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Korean War soldier identified after 67 years

By THOMAS GNAU | Dayton Daily News, Ohio | Published: March 10, 2018

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — A Korean War soldier with local ties has had his remains identified after 67 years, and his family is bringing him home for burial.

Cpl. Roy John Hopper was killed in action in Korea on July 31, 1950, according to an obituary  with Newcomer's Funeral Home.

Killed in an ambush Korea less than a month before his 22nd birthday, he was initially buried in Korea before being interred in Hawaii.

It was only after decades of efforts that the U.S. Army was finally able to fully identify Hopper's body.

"The Army continued to use all the technology at their disposal through the years, to ensure that he would one day be reunited with his family and be buried with them in attendance," the obit says. "In June of 2017 they were finally able to identify his remains using a new DNA process."

According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, Hopper was a member of "Headquarters Co., 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was killed in action while fighting the enemy in South Korea on July 31, 1950.

"His remains were not recovered at the time," the commission said. "Through the work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the remains of Cpl. Hopper were accounted for in 2017. His name remains permanently inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial."

Hopper was born to Richard and Helen (Schultheis) Hopper Aug. 25, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Newcomer says.

Roy joined the Merchant Marines in 1944 when he was 16, with his father's permission, and was stationed at Catalina Island. He then joined the Army in 1947, where he deployed to the Republic of Korea.

"While leading a detail bringing ammunition to the front, he and his men were ambushed," his obit says. "Roy stayed behind to allow his men to escape, and he was killed by a sniper in Chinju, Korea. His men all survived this ambush. Roy was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously for his courageous actions that day."

Roy was recovered without identification and was buried in the 25th Infantry Division Cemetery in Masan, Republic of Korea as an "unknown."

He was then moved to the U.S. Army's Central Identification Unit in Japan and then again to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1955, where he was buried with full military honors.

On April 6, Hopper will be laid to rest at Dayton National Cemetery surrounded by his family, and with full military honors. Roy's remains will be escorted from Honolulu, Hawaii to Dayton, by his great nephew, Sgt. Christopher "Ryan" Reynolds.

A public viewing will be held 5-8 p.m. April 5 at Newcomer Funeral Home, 3940 Kettering Blvd., Kettering. The funeral will be held at 11:30 a.m. April 6 at Newcomer with burial at Dayton National Cemetery to follow.

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