White House officials announced Wednesday that military investigators have identified the remains of Medal of Honor recipient Army Cpl. Luther Story, killed during the Korean War and classified as missing for the last 73 years.
In a joint statement, Presidents Joe Biden and South Korea’s Yoon Suk Yeol said the revelation underscores both country’s commitment to honoring the service members who fought in that war and ensuring everything possible is done to provide closure to their families.
Story’s remains were included among a group of 652 unknown combatants exhumed from Sangde-po, South Korea, in June 2021. Officials from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used dental and anthropological records to identify Story among the individuals buried there, while scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis to confirm the findings.
Story was posthumously given the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award — in June 1951. Eleven months earlier, Story was a 19-year-old serving with the 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division when his company was attacked by North Korean forces near the towns of Pusan and Yeongsan in South Korea.
According to his fellow soldiers, Story repeatedly exposed himself to enemy gunfire to lob grenades at the attackers, allowing time for U.S. forces to pull back to safety. During that retreat, he was mortally wounded, but continued to provide cover for his withdrawing comrades.
Military members later searched for his body, but were unable to recover it. He was officially declared missing in 1954.
Wednesday’s announcement was made as part of the South Korean president’s visit to Washington, D.C. This year marks the 70th anniversary of start of the official alliance between the two countries.
Story will be buried in his home state of Georgia in a ceremony scheduled for May 29, according to officials from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.