Chairman’s Message

During my years working at Andersonville, I knew only a few things about Army Corporal Luther Story. His brief life was remembered in the memorial section of the National Cemetery where a stone had been placed by his family. The lettering outlined in gold denoted that he was a Medal of Honor recipient. The memorial stone designated that his body had never been recovered or identified. I had visited the monument dedicated to those Sumter Countians who died in the America’s wars during the 20th Century which included a special tribute to Corporal Story.

It wasn’t until 2015 when I was serving with U.S. Naval Forces Korea that I took a greater interest in Luther Story. I was attending a meeting at the 8th Army Headquarters in Seoul when I saw a display of those ninety-three U.S. soldiers who had received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. There was Luther’s photo and the citation from his Medal of Honor. Prior to that time, I had wrongly assumed that he had fought and died in the Chosin Reservoir battle deep into North Korea. The battle where he gave his life was early in the war at the Busan Perimeter. This sparked my interest because my job required me to travel to Busan regularly. While in Korea, I made it a point to visit places associated with the Korean War, such as Incheon, the DMZ and Daegu. I never seemed to have time during my trips to Busan to seek out those places where Luther’s 9th Infantry Regiment was located. In August 2016, just a short time before going home, I knew that I needed to take time to seek out a special place in Busan; the UN Cemetery.

The United Nations Cemetery in Busan is a peaceful place. There are 2,300 burials there from twenty-one different countries. Surprisingly there are only four unknown burials there. U.S. burials are thirty-six. I thought that perhaps Luther was there as an unknown, but the likelihood of that was small. What I didn’t know was that I had visited Corporal Story’s cemetery on an earlier trip. On a trip to Hawaii in 1998, I visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. This cemetery is commonly referred to as the Punchbowl since it sits in an extinct volcano crater. Luther Story was buried there along with 651 other unidentified Korean War casualties. His burial at this serene national cemetery did not offer closure to his family. There he sat for nearly seventy years until the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) disinterred all 652 unknown burials from the Korean War for identification.

Thanks to the work of the DPAA, Luther was identified and brought to Andersonville National Cemetery for burial. That story is told here in the newsletter. Luther’s discovery, his seventy-year odyssey and burial, attracted attention from all over the world. Long into the future, visitors to Andersonville will learn about what Corporal Luther Story did for his country and how his life is an inspiration to all Americans.

Fred Boyles