Korean Vet Laid to Rest With Full Military Honors
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Cpl. William R. Sluss military honors
Buena Jester and Lincoln Powers accept an American flag that draped the casket of their brother, William Ray Sluss, from a member of the Fort Lee Honor Guard. Sluss was laid to rest in Holston View Cemetery Saturday afternoon.
From staff reports
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office verified that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, had been identified and would be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. William R. Sluss, 21, formerly of Nickelsville, returned home last week to be buried in Weber City’s Holston View Cemetery.
It was a long and arduous journey for the young serviceman as his family, friends and relatives welcomed him home with a special escort on Thursday and full military honors during his funeral and burial on Saturday.
He is survived by his sister, Buena Jester of Indianapolis, Ind.; his brother, Lincoln Powers of Nickelsville; nephews, Randy Jester, Ronald Jester, Chris Powers and James Powers; nieces, Barbara King, Jan Baker, Cathy Kilgore, Ginger Joseph, Sharon Henry, Lisa McCormack and Jewell Kilgore; several great-nieces and great-nephews.
It was a ceremony befitting a fallen hero. Soldiers from Fort Lee served as the honor guard. Members of American Legion Hammond Post No. 3, Kingsport, Tenn. and Post No. 265, Gate City also provided their services to honor their fallen comrade. The flag line was provided by the Patriot Guard Riders. Rolling Thunder POWs composed primarily of Vietnam Veterans escorted the hearse to the cemetery.
In late November 1950, Sluss and elements of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division were attacked by Chinese forces near Kunu-ri, North Korea.
On Nov. 30, 1950, Sluss, along with many other American soldiers, was listed as missing in action as a result of that heavy fighting. In 1953, returning Americans who had been held as prisoners of war reported that Sluss had been captured by the Chinese, and died in the spring of 1951 as a result of malnutrition while in a prisoner of war camp in North Phyongan Province, North Korea.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the human remains were recovered from North Phyongan Province, where Sluss was believed to have been held in “Camp 5.”
To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, forensic identification tools such as dental records and radiographs and mitochondrial DNA – which matched Sluss’ brother and sister.
Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the Korean War. Identifications continue to be made from the remains that were returned to the United States, using forensic and DNA technology.
The total number of soldiers still missing in action is staggering. According to the Defense Department, 73,690 soldiers, who served during World War II, are listed as MIA.
Another 7,965 are reported missing from fighting during the Korean War while soldiers who fought during the Cold War report 126 MIA. For the Vietnam War, 1,677 soldiers are missing in action. Only two soldiers are listed as MIA from the Gulf War.
The total number estimated to be MIA by the department totals 83,460.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo