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Korean War vet's remains identified; to be returned to Harrisburg

  • Edward Lee Borders

    Edward Lee Borders
    Courtesy of the Department of Defense

Posted on 7/25/2017, 1:00 AM

HARRISBURG -- Edward L. Borders was a U.S. Army Reserve corporal and a member of the 2nd Infantry Division fighting in the Korean War when he disappeared in February of 1951.

He was 20.

According to information from his family, he was a member of Army Battery D 82nd Anti-Aircraft Artiller Automatic Weapons Battalion in the 2nd Infantry.

Though the North Korean government confirmed Borders had died in a prisoner of war camp later that same year, his remains were not positively identified until recently.

This week, Borders' remains will return to Harrisburg, where he will receive a proper military funeral.

Chuck Hankins, a 2nd Division sergeant major, also served in Korea, and he said he is pleased Borders finally will receive the burial he deserves.

"I got over there later on, but I was aware of Borders and that he was missing in action," Hankins said.

Hankins said Borders' battalion, an anti-aircraft battalion, was there in support of the South Korean army along with the 1st Marine Division.

"After the Chinese came into the war, they came across the border between China and Korea by the hundreds of thousands," Hankins said. "The South Korean army basically dropped everything and ran south, and left our people holding the bag."

Hankins said the Chinese pushed southward beyond the 38th Parallel, and U.S. servicemembers who were not killed or taken prisoner were forced to gather in a location much farther south. That's when it was noticed Borders was not present.

"That was somewhere around the 11th, 12th and 13th of February, 1951," he said. "Borders was unaccounted for. By the end of the year, in December of 1951, the North Koreans exchanged information about POWs and listed his name as having died in a prisoner of war camp about 50 miles north of the 38th Parallel."

However, Borders' first name was misidentified as "Richard" at first, Hankins said, and it was much later before the correct name was used.

During the early 1990s, North Korea returned many remains of service members to the U.S., though they were commingled. A Department of Defense laboratory in Hawaii has been working for many years to positively identify remains by DNA.

Mike Weirauch, a Harrisburg funeral home owner and city councilman, will travel to St. Louis to receive Borders' remains at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. From there, an honor guard will escort Borders' remains back to Harrisburg.

A service for Borders will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at J.M. Weirauch Funeral Home in Harrisburg with the Rev. Chris Winkleman officiating. Borders will be buried with full military honors at Cottage Grove Cemetery east of Harrisburg.

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