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Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph E. Gantt served in the Korean War 63 years ago but never returned home. He left behind a wife who never gave up that he would one day return.
"He told me if anything happened to him he wanted me to remarry. I told him no, no. Here I am, still his wife," Clara Gantt told reporters. On Friday, the 94-year-old widow stood up from her wheelchair and wept before the flag-draped casket that held her husband.
Gantt was part of Battery C, 503rd Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division and worked as a field medic. He went missing on Nov. 30, 1950, according to the Associated Press.
The 2nd Infantry Division was attacked by Chinese forces near the town of Kunu-ri, North Korea. The division, outnumbered, withdrew while fighting through Chinese roadblocks. Many U.S. soldiers were reported missing that day.
During a 1953 exchange of prisoners of war, soldiers discovered Gantt had been injured in battle and died in a POW camp in early 1951 from malnutrition and lack of medical care. Only recently have they been able to identify his remains and it is not known when they were found.
Gantt isn’t the only American that was missing from the Korean War. Nearly 8,000 Americans are still unaccounted for, notes the L.A. Times.
Joseph Gantt is to be buried with full military honors in Inglewood California on Dec. 28. His wife plans to be buried next to him one day.