Six decades later, Korean War veteran's remains brought home to Gainesville


Published: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.

Some 60 years after he went missing in the Korean War, Turnace H. Brown will return home to Gainesville on Wednesday.

Facts

Services for Turnace H. Brown

Visitation
5 p.m. – 7p.m. Thursday
Milam Funeral Home
311 S. Main St.

Funeral service
11 a.m. Friday
Milam Funeral Home
311 S. Main St.
Burial to follow at Forest Meadows East Cemetery, 3700 Hawthorne Road

Six decades of uncertainty ended in July when Army lab tests that included DNA comparisons with relatives confirmed that Brown was among the soldiers whose bones were contained in 208 boxes of human remains that North Korea returned to the United States in the early 1990s.

On Wednesday morning, Brown's remains will be flown to Jacksonville International Airport, where a military honor guard and the Patriot Guard, a motorcycle group formed to honor fallen military personnel, will greet the casket.

On Friday, Brown will be laid to rest at Forest Meadows East Cemetery, the same cemetery where his parents are buried.

"My parents died not knowing what happened to their son," his sister Emma Jean Lunsford, 88, said. "I am glad that he was at heaven's gate waiting for them when they got there."

Brown was born in Baleville, Ala., in 1923 and his family moved to Florida when he was a small child, according to an undated Gainesville Daily Sun article. He graduated from Gainesville High and attended the University of Florida before he entered the Army in 1941.

In early December 1950, Brown was a 29-year-old lieutenant in an infantry division trying to fight its way south against Chinese forces at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, one of the longest and most brutal battles of the Korean War, according to a Department of Defense report.

When Chinese forces destroyed the Army's convoy, American soldiers scattered across the frozen reservoir to escape. For days, they continued to arrive at a Marine Corps encampment to the south, according to the report.

More than 125 soldiers, including Brown, were declared missing in action.

After the United States and North Korea exchanged prisoners of war in August and September 1953 as part of Operation Big Switch, four American POWs said Brown died from combat wounds and a lack of medical care in a prison camp in December 1950 or January 1951, according to an Army report.

In 1954, the Army informed his family of his death and posthumously promoted him to the rank of captain.

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