BYHALIA, Miss. – The remains of an American soldier who fought in the Korean War have been identified and will be buried near his parents in his north Mississippi hometown.
Army Cpl. George H. Mason was 19 when he was reported missing in action on Feb. 14, 1951, near Chuam-ni, South Korea. The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Tuesday that his remains had been identified.
The Army requested a DNA sample in 2007 from Mason's brother, Albert, who lives in Evansville, Indiana.
"We didn't hear any more about it until Sept. 8. That's when they said they had found some of George's bones," Jeanne Mason, Albert Mason's wife, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
She said there's relief Mason will be put to rest on American soil, but that's accompanied by renewed grief.
"We've really been going through this up and down since they told us," she said.
The remains will be buried Tuesday next to his parents, Bill and Ruth Mason, at Emory Cemetery in Byhalia.
Jeanne Mason said she has heard from veterans who never met George Mason but are planning to attend the funeral.
A Department of Defense news release said the People's Republic of China announced during a June 22, 1951, radio broadcast that Mason had been captured. During a 1953 exchange of prisoners of war, returning U.S. soldiers said they had no information about Mason, the release said. A military review board later listed him as presumed dead.
North Korea returned 208 boxes of commingled human remains to the United States between 1990 and 1994, and the Department of Defense release said they could contain remains of "at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war."
"North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicate that some of the remains were recovered from the area where men captured from Mason's unit were believed to have died," the news release said.