Sixty-three years after his death in action, a Korean war veteran’s body has been returned to his wife. Joseph Gantt joined the United States’ Army in 1942 and served in World War II. After arriving home from his tour in the South Pacific, he met and married his wife, Clara. In 1950, he again was deployed to serve as a medic in the Korean War. A few months into his time in Korea, he was captured by North Korean forces and later killed.
Clara waited for her husband’s return for sixty-three years with no closure and only the hope that the presumption of his death and missing in action status were just the wrong guesses about her husband made by the U.S. Army. Clara never remarried while she waited for Joseph’s return.
Finally, in December of 2013, Sgt. Gantt’s body was returned to his wife in Los Angeles and was laid to rest. His body is one of three Korean war veteran that have been identified and returned to their families in the last two years.
More than 83,000 soldiers remain missing and unaccounted for from the American military conflicts of the last hundred years. The Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Person Office was created in 1993 and is a part of the Department of Defense. This federal agency’s purpose is to limit the Americans lost and captured serving the in the military and is working daily to recover and identify America’s fallen soldiers.
The Department of Defense uses circumstantial evidence and other modern methods, like dental comparison and mitochondrial DNA analysis to match remains like Gantt’s to relatives and determine body identifications.
See http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/about_us/ for more information.