Daily Updates

February 7, 2013

Korean War captive's remains identified

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Half way around the world, nearly a lifetime ago, a young man from rural Indiana found himself as a prisoner of war.

At 19, Robert Gene Archer was still a teenager in late 1950 when he was reportedly captured near the Chosin Reservoir in communist North Korea. Cpl. Archer, a light truck driver and infantryman, would die as a captive of the North Korean forces in that distant place, far from his family, friends and home.

Now, thanks to DNA testing by the U.S. military using samples from Archer’s surviving relatives, Cpl. Archer’s remains have been identified and returned to his hometown of Brazil. They arrived at the French Funeral Home early Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s really good that they brought him home,” said Jim Archer, a nephew of Cpl. Archer. “We’re just honored.”

Jim Archer and his cousin, John Archer were too young to recall their uncle, who died serving in the Korean War, 1950-1953. But they said their older relatives never forgot “Uncle Robert.”

“My mom and dad always talked about him,” John Archer said, standing outside the French Funeral Home, where services for his uncle are scheduled for Saturday morning. Burial will follow the services  with full military honors.

A large contingent, including veterans groups, escorted Archer’s remains Tuesday from the Indianapolis International Airport to Clay County, where Robert Archer attended high school and worked at Mohr’s Garage in Brazil before enlisting in the U.S. Army.

“We try to do this whenever we can,” said Toni Brown, a member of the Greenwood American Legion Post, who was part of the large escort. “We still have a lot of [military men and women missing in action],” she said. “We need to get more of them home.”

Archer is one of six U.S. veterans identified through DNA testing so far this year, according to the Defense Department. His remains were identified on Jan. 14.

There are approximately 88,000 military men and women missing in action from World War II through the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to U.S. government data.

Archer has been awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

For his family members still living in Clay County, having their uncle back home brings a long-overdue sense of closure and satisfaction. It also brings a sense of pride.

“You’ve got to admire the people that go in the service and fight for our country,” said John Archer leaving the funeral home. “How can you not be proud?”

Details for this story were provided by Arthur Foulkes, a reporter for The Tribune Star in Terre Haute, Ind. Contact him at arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only
Daily Updates
  • 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

    April 20, 2014

  • In Other News, April 20

    April 20, 2014

  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

  • In West Bank, teen offenders face different fates

    The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.

    April 20, 2014

  • Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

    Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

    April 20, 2014

  • Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.

    April 20, 2014

  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Capt. America’ tops box office for third week

    Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and dominating over megastar Johnny Depp’s new movie.

    April 20, 2014

  • Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 19, 2014