New Attention on Korean War Hero

New Attention on Korean War Hero

Cpl. Luther Story
Photo by: Courtesy

Cpl. Luther Story, who was just 19 when he was killed during the Korean War and later was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, is finally coming home.

Story’s remains were accounted for April 6, 73 years after he was reported killed in action.

The news was announced April 26 in a joint statement from President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol as Yoon and his wife, Kim Keon Hee, are on a state visit to the United States.

In August 1950, U.S. forces in Korea were primarily located along the Pusan Perimeter, a defensive formation around the South Korean towns of Pusan and Yeongsan, along the eastern shore of the Naktong River, the White House statement said.

On Aug. 31, members of the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, took the brunt of a large-scale attack by elements of three divisions of the North Korean People’s Army. A native of Americus, Georgia, Story, then a private first class and a weapons squad leader, was heavily engaged in stopping the early attacks and had just moved his squad to a position overlooking the Naktong River when he saw a large group of enemy fighters crossing the river, according to his Medal of Honor citation.

“Seizing a machine gun from his wounded gunner, he placed deadly fire on the hostile column, killing or wounding an estimated 100 enemy soldiers,” the citation said.

When his company commander ordered the soldiers to withdraw, Story saw an enemy truck loaded with troops and towing an ammunition trailer moving toward them. “Alerting his comrades to take cover, he fearlessly stood in the middle of the road, throwing grenades into the truck,” the citation says. “Out of grenades, he crawled to his squad, gathered up additional grenades, and again attacked the vehicle.”

Story was wounded, but he ignored his wounds and continued to fight. Realizing that his wounds would slow down his fellow soldiers, Story stayed behind to cover the company’s withdrawal.

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

General of the Army Omar Bradley presented the Medal of Honor to Story’s father in a ceremony at the Pentagon on June 21, 1951.

After the battle, Story’s remains could not be found or identified, and he was not recorded as being taken prisoner, according to the White House statement. In June 2021, as part of a plan to disinter 652 Korean War unknowns from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency inspected Unknown X-260 Tanggok, a set of remains recovered near Sangde-po, South Korea, according to the White House.

Scientists used dental and anthropological analyses and mitochondrial DNA analysis to identify these remains as belonging to Story, the White House said.

Story will be buried in Andersonville, Georgia, in late May, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said.

“The supreme sacrifice and heroism of Corporal Luther Story is illustrative of the freedom, security, and prosperity the South Korean people have today,” Biden and Yoon said in the joint statement. “Both countries will continue making every effort to identify service members missing in action like Army Corporal Story.”