LEXINGTON, Ky. – A young soldier who went missing in action nearly 60 years ago in the Korean War has been laid to rest in his native Kentucky after the military identified his remains.
Attended by relatives he never knew, Army Cpl. Lloyd Dale Stidham was buried Monday with military honors at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. His funeral service was held earlier that day in Lexington.
A half brother, Donald Stidham, said the Army was able to confirm that Lloyd and the soldiers found with him were executed by Chinese troops after they had surrendered.
"We've waited almost 60 years; it's been tough," said Ronnie Stidham, 61, of Georgetown, the second of Lloyd Stidham's half brothers.
Donald Stidham says the missing soldier's father and stepmother died without learning what happened to their son, who was 18 when he vanished. They died in 1999, about one year before the remains that turned out to be Lloyd Stidham's were found in North Korea.
He had joined the U.S. Army about 1948, adding two years to his age to fool recruiters.
"Times were hard, and the Army was a way to get out of eastern Kentucky," Donald Stidham said. "So he lied about his age."
He went missing in action after his outfit was overrun by a large Communist Chinese force on Nov. 25, 1950.
The Pentagon confirmed April 3 that it had identified Stidham's remains and those of three other American soldiers. Stidham's remains arrived in Lexington by plane Saturday night.
A team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command — the federal agency that searches for U.S. soldiers missing in action — found the remains. Stidham's were identified through DNA.
The soldiers whose remains were found with Stidham were identified as Cpl. Samuel Harris Jr., of Rogersville, Tenn., Cpl. Robert Schoening of Blaine, Wash.; and a third man whose name has not yet been released. The Pentagon previously had identified a fifth soldier whose remains were found with the group as 1st Lt. Dixie Parker.