WASHINGTON, D.C. — The remains of a soldier for whom one of the new bridges on Interstate 69 were named last fall will be returned to his relatives for burial with full military honors more than 62 years after his death, officials announced Wednesday.
Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr., of Washington, will be buried next Wednesday in Arlington National Cemetery, officials from the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office said. Faith was awarded the Medal of Honor after being killed in the Korean War.
Faith, a veteran of World War II who continued to serve in the Army during the Korean War, was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and died a day later from those injuries. But his body was not recovered by U.S. forces at the time.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military honor recognizing personal acts of exceptional valor during battle.
“What’s so amazing is that our country doesn’t give up,” Barbara “Bobbie” Broyles, Faith’s only child, told FoxNews.com on Wednesday. “They keep looking for the missing and the prisoners of war and people who are unaccounted for in battles.”
Broyles, her husband and the couple’s three children will travel to Washington, D.C., next week for her father’s burial. And with the current political climate in North Korea, she said it’s “particularly important” to remember veterans of the Korean War.
“It’s now just becoming apparent how critical the Battle of Chosin was,” Broyles told FoxNews.com in reference to conflict along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 1950. “We sacrificed a lot to help Korea.”
At the time of his death, Faith and his unit — 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment — were attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team as it advanced along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.
During attacks by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces, Faith assumed command with his supervisor missing, and he continuously rallied his troops, personally leading an assault on an enemy position, defense officials have said.
In 2004, a joint team from the U.S. and North Korea surveyed the area where Faith was last seen and located his remains. To confirm the find, scientists used circumstantial evidence, forensic identification tools and mitochondrial DNA, using samples from Faith's brother for comparison.
“I’m incredulous,” Broyles, a 66-year-old psychotherapist, said when reached at her home in Baton Rouge, La. She praised Department of Defense scientists and researchers for their relentless work. “He’s been missing for 62 years and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing that he’s been found," she told FoxNews.
More than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, U.S. defense officials said.
Last November, Ind. State Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) authored a resolution urging the Indiana Department of Transportation to rename two bridges on I-69 after Faith and another soldier, Pvt. Richard Taylor, for their bravery.
“Bravery in the service of our country merits special recognition and it’s fitting that the recipients of the nation’s highest military decoration be honored and remembered for the role they played in making the world safe for future generations,” said Messmer.
The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon members of the United State armed forces who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action an enemy of the United States.”
Although the Medal of Honor was created for the Civil War, Congress made it a permanent decoration in 1863. The President of the United States, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our bravest soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members since the medal’s creating in 1861.
“I’m pleased that I, along with my colleagues in the General Assembly, am able to honor and recognize the bravery of these two soldiers and their sacrifices by naming a bridge in their honor,” Messmer said at the time of naming of the bridge.