SPRING LAKE, Mich. — The remains of a Michigan soldier who went missing during the Korean War’s fierce Battle of Chosin Reservoir are being returned home after DNA testing confirmed that he died in that battle nearly 70 years ago.
U.S. Army Sgt. David Alexander Feriend was 23 in December 1950 when he was listed as missing in action, after the brutal 17-day siege near the Chosin Reservoir in eastern North Korea.
Feriend’s remains were among 55 boxes of human remains that North Korea turned over to the U.S. after a June 2018 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced in August that Feriend had been “accounted for.” DNA testing verified that the remains in box number 36 were those of Feriend, WOOD-TV reported.
Feriend’s sister, Irene Arbogast, said her parents had hoped for years that he was a prisoner of war.
“I lost all faith after both my parents became deceased and I thought that would probably be the end of it,” Arbogast said.
Shortly after the conclusion of World War II, Feriend enlisted in the Army, but soon returned home to Fife Lake south of Traverse City. Jobs were scarce, and he did not want to burden to his struggling family, so Feriend re-enlisted and was deployed to Korea at the start of that war. He was a sergeant assigned to an infantry unit.
The Army disclosed the possible scenarios that lead to his death. The most likely is that a bomb struck a transport he was driving during the siege at Chosin, carrying injured soldiers to safety.
Feriend will receive full military honors when his remains arrive at Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids late Friday. Patriot Riders and the Michigan State Police are expected to accompany his remains to a Traverse City-area funeral home.
Arbogast is ready to lay to rest the big brother she lost too soon.
“It’s really gratifying to know he’s finally at rest in our hearts,” Arbogast said.