A Kentucky Marine whose remains were accounted for nearly 70 years after he was killed in the Korean War will be buried back home Saturday, Nov. 23.
The remains of Private First Class Ray P. Fairchild were sent to a laboratory in 2012, but it wasn’t until this summer that he was successfully identified. Scientists used dental and anthropological analysis to identity Fairchild.
“He’s coming home, where he was born on the same property, to be buried with Mom, Dad, our sister, grandpa and grandma,” his younger brother, John Fairchild, told the Salyersville Independent. “I guess it hadn’t really soaked in, but 69 years is a lifetime for most people. They all waited for us to be able to bring him home, and at 80 years old, I really didn’t think I would see it happen, either.”
Fairchild was 21 years old when he was killed in action Nov. 27, 1950, at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea near the town of Yudam-ni.
Four years later, North Korea and the U.S. Command exchanged the remains of the casualties. When Fairchild could not be identified, he was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
There are still more than 7,600 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Fairchild’s remains were flown into Blue Grass Airport Thursday night ahead of his funeral Saturday in Salyersville. John Fairchild was at the airport along with Marines, WKYT reported.
“It means everything in the world to me... because our parents, my sister, are gone. I’m the last one living,” he said. “Maybe it’s my time to close out the family, bring him home, lay him to rest where he was born.”
Magoffin County Funeral Home will hold Fairchild’s funeral services.
“This is a story of a Marine coming home and it’s a lot,” John Fairchild told the Salyersville Independent. “A military funeral is a big thing and I’ve waited 69 years for this.”