Missing Whitesville soldier coming home

Dec. 3—U.S. Army Pfc. Robert Wright of Whitesville went missing in action during the Korean War in 1950.

His family has waited for closure and decades later they have it.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced last month that Wright had been accounted for as of Aug. 15.

Mary Rose Wellmeier, a niece of Wright, said she has plenty of fond memories of her uncle.

"When we were children growing up, we could go visit grandmother and grandaddy out on the farm and he always had to entertain us younger children," she said. " ... Sometimes he'd put us on a horse and take us horseback riding."

Jessie Hettinger, another niece of Wright, said she was 4 years old when Wright left for the war.

"There were 900 soldiers that went into the battle he fought and 400 or so of them came back," she said.

Wright was a member of C Company, 1st Battallion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division when he went mission on July 16, 1950 fighting along the Kum River near Taejon, South Korea.

Hettinger said Wright was in Japan waiting to be sent to South Korea with soldiers who had just left bootcamp.

"They sent them over there but they were supposed to have two more weeks of training," she said. "This battle came up and they decided to send them all over there to have a good troop."

Wright quit high school to join the Army, Wellmeier said. He was 18 when he died.

The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953 because his body could not be recovered at the time due to the fighting. According to the DPAA, there had never been any evidence that Wright was being held as a prisoner of war.

Scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis to identify Wright's remains, as well as circumstantial evidence.

Wright will return to Kentucky on Dec. 6 where he will be transferred to Whitesville's Cecil Funeral Home. A visitation is scheduled for Dec. 8 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. The funeral will be held Dec. 9 at 10 a.m.