Medal of Honor recipient found after 62 years

don c. faith funeral

More than 60 years after Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr., died at the brutal Battle of Chosin Reservoir in late 1950, the Medal of Honor recipient’s remains have been recovered and interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Faith, a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, was only identified last year.

The Washington, Ind., native was buried at Arlington last week.

His only child, Barbara “Bobbie” Broyles, who was just 4 years old at the time of her father’s death, attended the ceremony.

“I’m incredulous,” she told “He’s been missing for 62 years and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing that he’s been found.”

With the onset of the Korean War in the summer of 1950, Faith, then 32, was dispatched to help stop the communist invasion of the southern part of the nation.

Commanding the 1st Battalion of the 32st Infantry Regiment, Faith’s unit was on the eastern bank of the Chosin Reservoir when Chinese Communist Forces initiated a massive attack on Nov. 27, 1950.

When regimental commander Col. Allan MacLean was killed on Dec. 1, Faith took over.

Chinese forces attack Lt. Col. Don Faith's position along the Chosin Reservoir in late 1950. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Chinese forces attack Lt. Col. Don Faith’s position along the Chosin Reservoir in late 1950. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

During attacks by Chinese forces, Faith continuously rallied his troops, personally leading an assault on an enemy position, according to defense officials.

Later, as things grew more desperate, he attempted to lead a breakout through encircling Chinese forces.

After he was hit by a fragment grenade, Faith was loaded into the cab of an army truck which just made it through a Chinese roadblock on Dec. 2.

However, as the truck drove through the roadblock it was ripped by gunfire and Faith was struck. The wound proved fatal.

A short time later, the army private driving the truck was forced to abandon it and make his way back to safety on foot, where he detailed Faith’s last minutes.

Like all the dead and wounded who were left with abandoned convoy vehicles, Faith was listed as Missing in Action. That designation was later changed to Killed in Action Body not Recovered.

Faith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman.

The award was presented to Faith’s wife by Gen. Omar N. Bradley, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a ceremony on June 21, 1951.

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, according to the US Department of Defense.

“What’s so amazing is that our country doesn’t give up,” Broyles said. “They keep looking for the missing and the prisoners of war and people who are unaccounted for in battles.”

More than 1,000 Americans were killed at the 17-day Battle of Chosin Reservoir and nearly 5,000 were listed as missing, with many captured by the Chinese. Another 4,600 US troops were wounded.

More than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, according to US defense officials.

(Top: The body of the former Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr. is carried to his final resting place in  Arlington National Cemetery, April 17, 2013.)

(HT: Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid)


12 thoughts on “Medal of Honor recipient found after 62 years

  1. The forgotten war and forgotten warriors. I interviewed a Marine who fought at Chosin once and to hear him talk about it literally was chilling, it was so brutal and the weather so cold, Marines starving, snow covered red with so much blood. (I’d never even heard of the fighting at Chosin Reservoir and I’m a history and military history nut, or used to be). He became rabidly antiwar pacifist after Korea; interesting since he sold insurance in College Station, Tx, where Texas A&M makes it the biggest military vet and hung-ho military spirited town in the country this side of San Diego. Of course my son got steeped in Chosin films and history in Marine boot camp. It ranks up there with Iwo Jima and other Marine battles to Marines. Very cool this Marine finally where a Medal of Honor winner needs to be.

    • Thanks, Paul. I’m surprised this didn’t get more attention. It’s not every day that a missing Medal of Honor winner is identified and returned and buried in Arlington.

      From what I’ve read about Chosin, I can understand how someone who survived it might become anti-war. It was, apparently, a very unpleasant experience.

    • Thank you for your comment. Seems hard to believe that there are still nearly 8,000 missing soldiers from the Korean War alone. It’s good when one comes home.

      By the way, the car in your avatar reminds me of a vehicle I once saw in the California ghost town of Bodie. A very interesting image.

      • Great eye! That’s the exact image I’m using. I love Bodie, will be visiting again in September if all goes to plan. Darwin, too.

        I hope we can bring all our lost boys home; as a veteran myself I appreciate the honors bestowed to our fallen brothers.

      • I visited Bodie nearly 20 years ago. Neat place. It’s a part of California almost no one ever visits, comparatively speaking, but it’s picturesque and beautiful.

        My hat’s off to you for your service. I, too, hope we can continue to bring our nation’s heroes home.

  2. I am astounded that 1) there are so many MIA, and 2) they keep looking for them, and 3) they find them. This was a great article. I also enjoyed the comments about Bodie. You not only have a great eye, but a fabulous memory. I was there about 20 years ago. I might remember a building, and the overall feeling of the place, but to recognize a car! Amazing CB! 🙂

    • Don’t give me too much credit; I like old cars, the one at Bodie is particularly iconic and I spent considerable time gazing at it trying to figure out its make and model. Of course, all of Bodie is iconic.

  3. That’s great news, CBC – another hero has come home. His daughter now has a sense of closure; her father’s earthly remains are where they belong — in U.S. soil at our national cemetery.

    It is true – the Korean War, coming on the heels of WWII, was not popular here. The only times that I saw much press coverage were those for the major battles of Inchon, Pusan, Chosin Reservoir, Heartbreak Ridge (the latter made into a film with Clint Eastwood). Those names still remain in my memory of that war. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, hero of the Philippines during the Pacific campaign in WWII, was the UN leader for all forces in Korea — until Pres. Truman relieved him of command. That certainly caused a stir with lots of media coverage.

    Three of my four brothers are former Marines who served in Korea and Vietman.
    When the two older ones got together with boot camp buddies who were at Chosin they told stories of horror and suffering that never appeared in the media. One name that kept recurring during their conversations was Lewis “Chesty” Puller, then General with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. The Marines idolized him.
    He was “one of them,” and they felt that sense of camarderie. “Chesty” would not ask his Marines to do anything that he would not do.

    I have heard that the Army soldiers at Chosin called themselves “The Chosin Few.” The Marines referred to themselves as “The Frozen Chosin.”

    Since World War II our country has fought in in six major wars involving all branches of our military, three in the Middle East. There have been numerous “interventions” that are not specifically classifed as “wars” but have involved U.S. troops and U.S. government agencies. Our government leadership uses euphemisms when they don’t want to face reality.

    I have become anti-war over the years, particularly in the last ten-plus years, because of the useless, immoral slaughter in the Middle East. These wars are the direct result of lies that our government continues to tell us; the spiraling of the massive (and lucrative) military-industrial race; the whores who continue to make our foreign policy.

    Having said that, I want to make it very clear. I do not in any way indict our warriors who fight these wars. Why do you think that there are so many suicides among vets returning from the MIddle East? Here are a few reasons: coping with maiming injuries never seen before on such a large scale, especially those inflicted by IEDs; recurring bouts of PTSD; no jobs to return to; poverty; homelessness; substance addictions and, in all too many cases, inadequate and inferior medical treatment at V.A. hospitals..

    These warriors have seen and have experienced terrible things that are forever etched on their minds. I have read accounts by some vets who tell it like it was – and is. They are telling us that something is terribly, terribly wrong. Like whistleblowers, they are scorned and vilified.
    (So were the O.T. prophets.)
    We need to listen to these men and women, CBC.

    • I agree with you, Alice. Unfortunately, we have painted ourselves into a corner in some situations. For example, had we not sent troops into Afghanistan and Iraq and there been another Al-Qaeda-sponsored attack, our elected leaders would have been vilified for not doing more to hunt down the ring leaders before they could act again. Of course, when we do send in troops, we’re vilified, as well. It’s a no-win situation, and our enemies know it.

      Personally, I believe that given the extent and knowledge of the atrocities Saddam Hussein had committed against his own people, sending troops in to remove him was warranted. Today I read of people wailing and gnashing their teeth that the western powers should have stepped in to stop the genocide in Rwanda 20 years ago, but what if we had gone in and, as a result, several hundred or several thousand civilians had been killed? How would that have been portrayed in media coverage?

      It’s a difficult decision and I realize that the US’s motives when sending troops into foreign lands – like that of most any nation – are rarely pure. However, if there was an easy answer to these types of situations, it would likely have been discovered and employed long, long ago.

      The one positive is that at least today veterans have a much better chance of receiving the care they need and deserve when they return home. That certainly wasn’t the case even 50 years ago. Maybe we’re learning something.

  4. ive had a direct close relative in every war since ww2(grandfather,father,2 brothers,uncles).hard to believe in 2016 this pattern will not see an end.God bless .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s