CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — An honor guard and police cars with flashing lights on Thursday accompanied the remains of an Army corporal who died while a prisoner of war in North Korea. His coffin was returned to Colorado 65 years after he disappeared.
The body of Army Cpl. Floyd J.R. Jackson was flown to Denver International Airport after he was identified using DNA from relatives.
His flagged-draped coffin was then taken to a funeral home in Centennial. People on bridges and highways stopped to pay their respects as the procession passed.
The public was invited to participate in his graveside funeral, which will be held with full military honors Saturday at Olinger Chapel Hill Cemetery, where he will be buried next to his mother.
Jackson was reported kidnapped when his team was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea and it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces.
On Nov. 29, 1950, remnants of his task force began a fighting withdrawal to more defensible positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir.
On Dec. 12, 1950, Jackson was reported as missing in action.
A returning service member told U.S. officials that Jackson was captured by the Chinese on Dec. 12, 1950, and died Feb. 13, 1951, while in an enemy prisoner of war camp.
His remains were not among those returned by communist forces during Operation Glory in 1954.
His niece, Joann Mueller, said she learned a military forensics team had positively identified her uncle in January. She said the Army came to her home to give the family his medals, including a Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medal.
Mueller said little was said of Jackson in her family until one of her children asked about a family photo. Mueller said she and several other relatives were later asked for DNA samples at a meeting with families of military members in Westminster who were missing in action.
"The meeting included a lot of families from different wars," she said. "They told us they were looking for MIAs and doing recovery missions."
U.S. teams were later allowed to excavate sites in North Korea between 1990 and 2005 and used DNA to identify the remains.