One of Washington’s heroes was finally laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, 62 years after his death.
The remains of Lt. Col. Don Carlos Faith Jr., was interred next to his parents at the cemetery. Faith was a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in the Korean War.
At the Hill of Heroes at Eastside Park, Mayor Joe Wellman led a ceremony complete with a VFW and American Legion Honor Guard, NJROTC flag detail, and city firefighters and police officers were in attendance. Pastor Len Wells and Rev. George Qualley also particpated in the service.
“We honor his sacrifice and we wait for that day when there will be no need for conflict,” Wells said. “We pray that his example might be the last example of self sacrifice and courage.”
Wellman placed a wreath at a monument dedicated to Faith at the hill. He said the city wanted to honor Faith locally as well as his long overdue honors at Arlington.
“I thought it was important that we do something locally so that we remember our native sons,” Wellman said. “so our citizens remember that are folks among who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
Several were in attendance at the ceremony, including Korean War veteran Ben Osborn. He went to Korea after Faith’s death in the Chosin Reservoir campaign.
“I know guys talked about him and the battle up there,” Osborn said.
Veteran Chuck Wilkerson also attended the ceremony. He walks in Eastside Park and rests at the Hill of Heroes. He sits at a bench next to the Faith monument.
“This is closure for the Washington area of a native that has been missing in action,” Wilkerson said.
Faith, commander of the 1st Batallion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was wounded leading a counterattack in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir on Dec. 1. He died a day later and his remains could not be retrieved in the withdrawl of U.S. forces after.
As part of a joint mission with North Korea, the remains of Faith and other soldiers who perished in the battle were taken back to the U.S. in 2004. On Oct. 11, 2012, after years of work identifying remains through DNA of family members, Faith’s remains were positively marked.
He received the Medal of Honor posthumously from Gen. Omar Bradley on Aug. 2, 1951. Faith’s daughter, Barbara “Bobbie” Faith Broyles, received the honor for her father.
Wednesday, she was there at Arlington for the ceremony.
“He’s been missing for 62 years and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing that he’s been found,” Broyles told Fox News last week.
Also there Wednesday was family friend Tom Brummett. Brummett was instrumental in naming two bridges on the newly-completed Interstate 69 in honor of Faith and Pvt. Richard Taylor, Daviess County’s other Medal of Honor recipient.
Brummett flew in to Washington D.C. early Wednesday and is expected to return today.
State Rep. Mark Messmer, who led the legislative charge to get the bridges named after Faith and Taylor, also attended at Arlington. The ceremony was also noticed by Indiana members of Congress. Sen. Joe Donnelly could not attend due to a Senate Armed Services hearing, but sent his military legislative fellow, according to a press statement.
“I join his family in thanking the team that identified his remains decades after he was last seen,” Donnelly said. “We must never forget the many sacrifices of our selfless warriors like Lt. Col. Faith Jr., and I thank his family for their sacrifice.”
Eighth District Rep. Larry Bucshon took to the floor of the House of Representatives and gave a statement for the record honoring Faith.
“I rise today to celebrate the life, honor, leadership and incredible sacrifice of a true American hero,” Bucshon said. “An honor to which we all owe a debt of gratitude.”
Donnelly said he hopes more veterans of the Korean War will be able to finally come home.
“It is tragic that the situation in North Korea and its aggressive actions have prevented us from continuing our recovery efforts, and I look forward to the day when conditions would permit that work to restart,” Donnelly said.
Wilkerson, who pointed out the POW/MIA flag at the Hill of Heroes, agreed.
“There’s one less missing.” he said. “We still have a bunch out there.”