Nov. 14, 2012 — ARGILLITE — After 62 years, Sgt. Stanley Wayne Bear is finally home and resting peacefully.
Bear, who was killed in action in Korea in 1950, just 12 days shy of his 19th birthday, was laid to rest on Saturday in the sun-dappled Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North East.
Bear, a native of New Boston, Ohio, died on Sept. 4, 1950, in Masan, South Korea, during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. But his body never returned home from the war — not until Saturday, that is. Members of his family were notified last month that his remains had been positively identified through mitochondrial DNA testing. DNA from the remains was compared with samples submitted by Bear’s sister, Faye Bear Worthington of Ashland, and nephew, Patrick Worthington.
Bear’s remains were recovered about 10 years ago, after the U.S. began sending search and recovery teams to North and South Korea to locate the remains of unaccounted for American servicemen. They had been in the military’s custody, and Bear’s niece, Brenda Bear Marth of Wheelersburg, said they’d been kept in various locations, the final one being Hawaii.
Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Stuck served as Bear’s escort home. He accompanied his remains from Honolulu to Atlanta, and then from Atlanta to Columbus.
“It was an honor,” he said of his mission, which he said was unlike any he’d ever performed in his 10 years in the service. “It was amazing just seeing how respectful everyone was.”
An honor guard from Fort Knox performed Bear’s military rites, which included a 21-gun salute in his honor. Members of the detail also removed the flag covering Bear’s casket, folded it into the shape of a triangle and presented it to Bear’s brother, Carl Bear, of Pittsburg, Mich. Two additional flags were presented to Bear’s other siblings, Faye Worthington and Glen Bear of Stout, Ohio.