Nearly 70 years after a Woodrow Wilson graduate went missing in the Korean War, his remains are coming home to be buried next to his family.
Private First Class Grady “Jack” Crawford, of Battery M, 4th Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, was listed as Missing in Action while fighting in Korea on Dec. 1, 1950. He was presumed dead on Oct. 30, 1953.
He died while fighting in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, a brutal 17-day battle in which 120,000 Chinese fighters ambushed 30,000 United Nations troops. In temperatures 40 degrees below zero, UN forces fought their way out down a treacherous, snow-packed road.
Crawford’s remains were missing in Korea until 1954 when they were moved to Hawaii. They remained there until 2012 when grave exhumations for DNA testing began. His remains are 95 percent intact, making it one of the most complete bodies that has been recovered from Korea, his niece, Colleen Crawford, said in an email.
“We are so overwhelmed with emotion,” she said. “A beautiful closure for a heartbreaking loss, something we thought would never happen in our lifetime.”
Crawford enlisted in the military during his senior year of high school in 1947. He was an expert marksman at Woodrow, a boxing medalist and a letterman football player. After the war, he was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Crawford’s remains arrived Thursday in the United States after being transported from Hawaii. His nieces — Colleen Crawford, Alicia Crawford Burrough, Christi Crawford and Teri Crawford — escorted his remains from the plane.
He will be buried at Restland Funeral Home and Cemetery on Greenville Avenue next to his brother, who also fought in Korea. All are welcome to attend the indoor visitation from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, followed directly by a public service and burial.
“Thank you Grady for your service, courage and fierce passion fighting for this country,” his niece said.
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