Korean War KIA from Palmer coming home

By all accounts, the fighting in and around the Chosin Reservior in North Korea during the Korean War was nothing less than brutal.

The Korean peninsula was and is infamous for its extreme weather conditions — blazing hot in the summer and bitter cold in the winter.

Meteorological conditions aside, however, that’s where tens of thousands of young American servicemen found themselves in December 1950, fighting the North Koreans who had invaded the south several months earlier.

Among the American combatants was U.S. Army Cpl. Gordon D. McCarthy, who hailed from Palmer in Marquette County.

McCarthy was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment and 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action Dec. 2, 1950, at age 20, after his unit was attacked by enemy forces near the reservoir.

Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered.

Of course, the North Koreans had his remains, turning them over to U.S. officials in 2018. He was officially accounted for by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Feb. 13, after his remains were identified using circumstantial evidence as well as anthropological, mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA analysis.

McCarthy will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 14.

Many Americans remain unaccounded for — technically missing in action — from the wars we have fought. More than 78,000 from World War II, more than 7,800 from the Korean War and more than 1,600 from Viet Nam.

That’s a lot of American families yearning for any kind of closure.

We give full credit to the U.S. military for never giving up trying identify Americans, even after many years.

And in a solemn and respectful way, we welcome Cpl. McCarthy home, a hero among heroes who gave his life in service to his country.


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