Ohio man captured, killed during Korean War laid to rest
By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: March 9, 2018
CINCINNATI — A U.S. Army soldier whose remains were identified last year after being captured and killed nearly 70 years ago during the Korean War will be finally laid to rest in Ohio.
WSYX-TV reports a memorial service and burial with full military honors will be held Friday in Columbus for Pfc. Leroy Bryant.
The U.S. Department of Defense says Bryant, who was born in Franklin, was killed on July 3, 1951. He was 23 years old.
In early February 1951, Bryant was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, as U.S. Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) and United Nations Command (UNC) forces were deployed in defensive positions across the South Korean peninsula, according to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. His regiment was located in the town of Yonghyon-ni, and was tasked to determine location, position and strength of enemy forces. Those forces attacked, forcing soldiers to withdraw to new positions. Because Bryant could not be accounted for by his unit after the attack, he was reported missing action as of Feb. 6, 1951, near Yanghyon-ni, South Korea.
Bryant’s name appeared on a list of Americans who died while in custody of communist forces, but there was no way to confirm this report and Bryant’s status remained listed as missing in action, the agency news release said.
After the war, a returning prisoner from Bryant's regiment said that friends told him Bryant had died while being marched north to a prisoner of war camp along the Yalu River. Based on that information, the Army amended his status to deceased.
On Sept. 7, 1954, a set of remains reportedly recovered from a prisoner of war cemetery in Changsong, North Korea, were sent to the Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan, for attempted identification. The set of remains was later transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu and interred as a Korean War Unknown.
Those remains were disinterred Jan. 9, 2017 and sent to a DPAA laboratory for analysis. Relatives provided DNA samples about a decade ago, leading to the identification of Bryant's remains, which arrived Wednesday at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
There are nearly 8,000 U.S. military personnel who served in the Korean War still not accounted for.
Bryant was posthumously awarded numerous medals and citations, include the Purple Heart.
Stars and Stripes writer Lauren King contributed to this story.