A 1st Cavalry Division soldier killed during the Korean War whose remains were returned by North Korea over the summer will be buried this weekend with full military honors.
The Defense Department says Army Master Sgt. Charles McDaniel will be buried Saturday in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, Indiana. McDaniel was a 32-year-old Army medic from Vernon, Indiana, when he went missing after combat between his unit and Chinese soldiers in North Korea in 1950.
McDaniel was a soldier with 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, which is still active today at Fort Hood.
The current commander of that battalion, Lt. Col. Kevin Black, is traveling from Fort Hood to attend the funeral.
“Master Sgt. McDaniel died in service to his country and, as a medic, in service to his fellow troopers in 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment,” Black said in a statement to the Herald. “The battle of Unsan was a terrible fight, which decimated the ranks of 3-8 CAV, but out of this fight there were hundreds of stories of heroism and sacrifice. We may never know the final minutes of Master Sgt. McDaniel’s life, but we do know that he died as a Warhorse and his sacrifice will be remembered by his battalion and his nation. We are grateful that his family is now able to lay him to rest with the honors that he earned almost 68 years ago.”
McDaniel’s name had been made public in August because his military identification tag was among the 55 boxes of remains that North Korea turned over on July 27 following the Singapore summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
U.S. officials confirmed last month that McDaniel’s remains were among those returned.
Korean War veteran and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Homer Garza, a Harker Heights resident, said he’s glad the remains of his fellow service members are able to return home decades later.
“I’m glad that they are doing that because we left a lot of them there,” he said.
Garza, who earned a Purple Heart Medal in the war, was also with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea in 1950, but he didn’t know McDaniel, who was in another battalion.
But like McDaniel’s case, Garza’s unit — 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment — was overrun by Chinese soldiers in North Korea.
In freezing weather, Garza and his fellow troopers had to move south fast.
The dead stayed behind, Garza said. “We couldn’t pick up the bodies.”
Garza said he’s paying attention to see if any remains of soldiers from 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, make their return trip from North Korea soon. So far, none have been announced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.