UK & World News

  • 22 December 2013, 0:53

Korean War Widow Receives Husband's Remains

A 94-year-old woman has received the remains of her husband - 62 years after he died during the Korean War.

The remains of Sergeant Joseph Gantt, who is to be buried with full military honours, were only recently identified.

His widow, Clara, wept as she received the flag-draped coffin at Los Angeles airport.

"He told me if anything happened to him he wanted me to remarry," she said. "I told him no, no. Here I am, still his wife."

Sergeant Gantt was a field medic who went missing in action on November 30, 1950, while serving with Battery C, 503rd Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division.

According to official records, elements of the division were attacked by greater numbers of Chinese forces near the town of Kunu-ri, North Korea.

The division disengaged and withdrew, fighting its way through a series of Chinese roadblocks. Numerous US soldiers were reported missing that day in the vicinity of Somindong, North Korea.

Soldiers returning home in 1953 said Sgt Gantt had been injured in battle, captured by Chinese forces and died in a PoW camp in early 1951 from malnutrition and lack of medical care.

His remains were identified using the latest technology. Information on when they were found was not immediately available from the missing personnel office.

Nearly 7,900 Americans who went missing in the Korean War are still unaccounted for.

Mrs Gantt said she met her future husband in 1946 while on a train heading to California, and they married two years later.

She lives a few miles away from Los Angeles airport in Inglewood in a property she bought in the 1960s to await her husband's return.

One wall of her bedroom is covered with military certificates and photos but Mrs Gantt never displayed her husband's posthumous Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor for fear they might be stolen.

Mrs Gantt, who used to look after disabled people and children, says she was never tempted to marry.

"I am very, very proud of him. He was a wonderful husband, an understanding man," she told reporters.

"I always did love my husband, we was two of one kind, we loved each other. And that made our marriage complete."

Sgt Gantt's funeral service is to be held on December 28 in Inglewood. His widow said she plans one day to be buried next to him.

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