Fallen soldier’s parents and siblings never stopped searching for him
Fallen hero welcomed home in special procession spanning West Virginia
CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Late Tuesday night Corporal Pete Conley made the long journey home from Korea, 70 years after he left for the war.
After a meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018, North Korea turned over 55 boxes purported to contain the remains of American service members killed during the Korean War. The remains arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
“A couple of years ago, the closest family member submitted DNA,” said Cpl. Pete Conley’s great-nephew, Jeremy Isaacs. “In 2018 when President Trump went to North Korea to meet with Kim Jung-un as part of the talks they had, he gave him 55 remains, Uncle Pete was number 25.”
Army Cpl. Pete W. Conley was from Chapmanville. Conley was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action Dec. 12, 1950, after his unit was attacked by enemy forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. His remains could not be recovered after the battle. He was only 19-years-old.
“He has been in Hawaii the past couple of years, pending the results of the DNA test,” said Isaacs. “They got a match, they contacted us and it was just out of the blue, out of nowhere and it was just amazing and it all lead up to this.”
Tuesday afternoon his flag draped coffin was taken from a plane at an airport in Columbus. His journey to his final resting place in his hometown of Chapmanville, West Virginia was marked with crowds lining the roads at several points along the way. Including Jackson County along I-77 and Logan County along Corridor G.
Conley’s great-nephew told WSAZ’s Tori Yorgey that his great-grandmother and grandfather never stopped in their pursuit to bring their son and brother’s remains home.
“it feels like a weight has been lifted off of every one of us, we just feel so relieved that’s he’s finally home,” he said. “He can rest and he’s going to be laying next to his mother, who never gave up hope. My (great-grandmother) and grandfather wrote letters (to) congressmen (and) senators for years and nobody had nothing.”
The West Virginia Sheriff’s Association organized the journey from Columbus to Chapmanville. “It’s just simply the right thing to do for someone who gave so much for all of us. It is our honor,” Executive Director Rodney Miller said.
“It was just a humbling experience to say the least, it was completely humbling and (we’re) just thankful of everyone showing their support,” Isaacs told WSAZ. “I never dreamed it was going to be like this.”
Funeral services for Army Cpl. Conley will be performed by the Evans Funeral Home, Chapmanville, West Virginia, preceding the interment. He will be buried in Pecks Mill next to his mother.
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