Finally welcomed home: Family at peace after remains of US soldier killed in Korean War return to North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The remains of a U.S. veteran killed in the Korean War were returned to North Carolina on Friday.

"It's a long time coming, and it's put everything at peace. For so many years, nobody know where he was. And now he's home," Terri Morgan said. She is Army Cpl. Stephen P. Nemec's cousin and lone surviving family member.

Nemec was killed in action on Nov. 2, 1950, when his unit engaged the Chinese Communist Forces at Turtle's Head Bend, near Unsan, North Korea.
Morgan never met Nemec, but had a connection to him while growing up.

"He had a 1945 Indian motorcycle. And every week, I polished that motorcycle. And that's why I wanted these guys here today," Morgan recalled, referring to the Patriot Guard Riders.

The Patriot Guard Riders are a group attend services for fallen military, first responders, and veterans. They were out here last week, when the remains of Pfc. William Hoover Jones were returned.

"The people get to see a hero come home. This individual was lost 69 years ago. He gave his life for this country way long before a lot of people were born," said Ed Faude, an Assistant State Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders, who led the procession.

Morgan showed her appreciation, by stopping to speak with and thank each person who showed up.

"Korea's known as the forgotten war. But to us, especially as veterans, they're never forgotten," explained Charles Bullock, an Assistant State Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders.

SEE ALSO: Remains of Nash County soldier, presumed dead in 1953, return from North Korea

At the end of the war, the remains of many U.S. veterans could not be identified. However, advances in forensic techniques allowed American analysts to successfully identify Nemec's remains.

His remains arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport around 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Visitation for Nemec will be awarded a posthumous Purple Heart during a ceremony late Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, a funeral service will be held in New Bern. He will be laid to rest at New Bern National Cemetery with full military honors.

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, there are 7,663 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
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