Korean War soldier returns home more than 70 years after death


A funeral service for Army Cpl.  Ralph Boughman was held in the Chapel of Lewis Funeral Home in Union, SC on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Boughman was reported missing in action during the Korean War on December 2, 1950 when his unit was attacked near the Reservoir of Chosin in North Korea.  His remains were identified in 2020 and were taken home after 70 years, to be interned at Rosemont cemetery in Union on Saturday.  (Tim Kimzey / Spartanburg Herald-Journal via AP)

A funeral service for Army Cpl. Ralph Boughman was held in the Chapel of Lewis Funeral Home in Union, SC on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Boughman was reported missing in action during the Korean War on December 2, 1950 when his unit was attacked near the Reservoir of Chosin in North Korea. His remains were identified in 2020 and were taken home after 70 years, to be interned at Rosemont cemetery in Union on Saturday. (Tim Kimzey / Spartanburg Herald-Journal via AP)

AP

For over 70 years he was unknown to the family where Cpl. Ralph Boughman’s remains were found after being killed in the Korean War while fighting for his country in 1950.

Boughman, of Union, joined the United States Army in August 1948 at Fort Jackson in Colombia, inspired by the military service of his brothers during World War II. He was 19 years old.

His journey had just begun. After completing his basic training, he transferred to Fort Lawton in Seattle, Washington, and then to Japan for a year before heading to Korea.

Assigned to Army B Company, 1st Battalion, 32th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, Boughman’s unit was attacked on December 2, 1950 by Chinese troops near Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. .

He did not survive the fighting, but because his body could not be found at the time, Boughman was reported missing in action.

PRAYERS ANSWERED WHEN REMAINING BACK IN UNION

It was not until December 21, 1953, that he was pronounced dead, his Union family receiving a telegram from the army. However, the location of his body was unknown.

Over the decades, Boughman’s family still hoped that his remains would be returned to their Union home.

Their prayers were answered in August 2018, when Boughman’s remains arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and were positively identified in April 2020 using DNA. North Korea, following a June 2018 summit with President Donald Trump, had agreed to release the remains of US servicemen killed in the Korean War with Boughman’s remains included in one of 55 boxes handed over in the USA.

After his remains arrived in Charlotte last week, they were taken to Union where he was laid to rest in Rosemont cemetery last Saturday.

‘I HAVE A LOT OF DIFFICULTY BELIEVING IT’

Nephew Larry Boughman of Greeneville, Tennessee, was among those who attended the memorial service at the Lewis Funeral Home Chapel on the South Duncan Bypass in Union.

An American flag was draped over his uncle’s coffin, and members of the Patriot Guard Riders stood outside the chapel holding American flags as people entered. Formed in 2005, members of the Patriot Guard Riders attend funerals for members of the United States military by invitation.

Members of Rolling Thunder – and an advocacy group that draws attention to missing servicemen and prisoners of war from all American wars – also showed their respect for Boughman’s family during the service and participated in the procession. from the chapel to the cemetery.

When Larry Boughman received a phone call in April 2020 from Fort Knox, Ky., He was hesitant to answer because he usually only answers calls from people he knows. He went to put his phone back in his pocket but decided to answer instead.

It was a call from the army letting him know that his uncle’s body had been found.

“It was scary,” said Larry Boughman. “I have a hard time believing it.”

INTENDED TO REST A FEW MILES FROM HOME PLACE

During the memorial service, several family members spoke about Ralph’s life on the farm near Santuc, where he did housework and enjoyed roaming the 180 acres. When he got older he worked with his father JQ Boughman in the lumber business, helping out at the sawmill.

Of Ralph’s nine siblings, Pansy Boughman Bourne, 89, of Union is the last surviving brother. She was grateful to see her brother’s remains return home and was able to attend the memorial.

During the memorial, the American flag draped over his brother’s coffin was folded and returned to him at the cemetery.

“I’m so surprised we had such a good turnout and I appreciate everyone coming,” said Bourne. “It’s great and wonderful that he (Ralph) is finally here and a few miles from home. I am so happy that the Lord lets us find him. I prayed for it and he answered my prayers.

Bourne shared a moment at the cemetery with Aubrey Green, 91, of Union County, who joined the military with Ralph.

“We joined the service together, and I spent the night with him before joining us the next day at Fort Jackson,” Green said. “We went our separate ways there for a while, and I didn’t see him until I got to Seattle. He (Ralph) was a cook and I saw him in a white uniform. Getting it back makes me feel good.

Whitestone’s nephew Glenn Boughman delivered a prayer during the service. He said he thanked the Lord for returning his uncle to the family.

“Since that day, the family was first informed, there was a great unknown for the family as to what had happened to him,” he said. “When his remains were found, identified and released from Korea to here, it took many steps and a series of events.”

During the service, the hymns “How Great Thou Art” and “Where the Roses Never Fade” were performed by family members.

Spartanburg’s nephew Ernie Boughman delivered the eulogy. He recalls when a telegram was sent to Ralph’s parents in January 1951 stating he was MIA after the battle.

“Even though I wasn’t quite 6 years old, I remember the family reunion and just remember Grandma was heartbroken,” said Ernie Boughman. “She collapsed and cried, and there was just sadness all over the house.

Two years after his death, the family received Ralph’s personal effects from the Army, including a sewing kit, mechanical pencil, silk jacket, Japanese flag, ring, bracelet, baseball, and three cents.

The day before his memorial, a ceremony was held with the military to recognize Ralph’s military service. On behalf of his brother, Bourne accepted his Purple Heart, Gold Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksmanship Badge, Korean Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Citation, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Services Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and Army Presidential Unit Citation Medal.

During the service, Reverend Bill Strong shared encouraging scripture verses and acknowledged how difficult it was for the family to go over 70 years without knowing whether the remains of their loved one would ever return home. .

“I had this feeling of finding my own grief that swelled me to tears as I thought about what your family went through and didn’t know it,” Strong said. “This family has spent over 70 years looking for this closure.”


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