LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The remains of a U.S. Army sergeant, who died as a prisoner of war in Korea, returned to Los Angeles Friday morning.
The signature pylons at Los Angeles International Airport were lit red, white and blue in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gantt, who died on March 27, 1951 while serving in the South Pacific during the Korean War.
Gantt was deployed to Korea as a field medic and taken prisoner on Dec. 1, 1950 while defending his unit’s position, according to the USO.
He was listed as missing in action/presumed dead for nearly 63 years. before his remains were recently identified by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and forensic labs in Honolulu, HI.
For his combat leadership and heroic actions that day, he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor. Other awards include the Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
Gantt’s flag-draped coffin arrived on a United Airlines flight around 5:30 a.m. and was greeted by his 94-year-old widow, Clara.
“He told me that if anything happened to him, he wanted me to remarry, and I told him ‘no’,” Clara Gantt said. “So, here I am, still his wife and going to remain his wife till the Lord call me home.”
The veteran’s remains were transported to Inglewood for burial on Dec. 28.