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Remains matched to Georgia soldier, Medal of Honor recipient killed in Korean War

Army civilian employees pass around Retired Master Sgt. Leroy Petry’s Medal of Honor while attending a Mental Health Awareness Observance May 17, Heritage Hall, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. (DVIDS)

WASHINGTON — After 73 years of uncertainty, the remains of an Army soldier born in Georgia and killed in action during the Korean War have been identified through DNA testing.

Born in Buena Vista, Cpl. Luther Story was just 19 years old when he was killed during what the military describes as a daylight attack in 1950. In the citation for his posthumous Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, the U.S. Army writes that Story continued to provide cover for his comrades even after he was wounded.

“When last seen he was firing every weapon available and fighting off another hostile assault,” the citation states.

Story’s father was presented with his Medal of Honor at the Pentagon in 1951. His only known living relative today is a niece who lives in Americus.

The military tried for months to locate or identify Story’s remains in Korea or determine whether he had been taken as a prisoner of war, but nothing was ever confirmed. In 1956, he was declared unrecoverable.

The identification comes as the result of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency inspection of the remains of 652 Korean War veterans who had been interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. That initiative began two years ago.

Testing of remains that had been identified as Unknown X-260 Tanggok matched Story’s DNA.

The newest development was announced Wednesday as part of South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol’s official state visit to the White House, which will include a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden and a state dinner. The visit coincides with the anniversary of the two nations’ security alliance forged in 1953 at the conclusion of the war.

“On this 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice and the U.S.-ROK alliance, our two countries take this joint statement as an opportunity to reaffirm our respect and gratitude for the courageous acts of our service members in defense of our freedom, values and democracy,” the joint announcement stated.

Biden and Yoon are scheduled to appear for a joint news conference Wednesday afternoon at the White House.

Staff writer Jeremy Redmon contributed to this article.


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