North Texas war veteran laid to rest 68 years later

A North Texas family finally laid to rest a military family member who'd been missing in action in Korea for more than a half century.

The funeral service for Private First Class Willie Blue included full military honors at DFW National Cemetery.

Blue was a New Orleans native and enlisted in the army there well before his eighteenth birthday. Family members are now relieved the man who'd been "missing in action" for 68 years has a new home now among other American heroes who paid the ultimate price.

Taylor August says, with their mother's approval, his older brother joined the army when he was just 15 years old.

"My mother went through a lot of anxiety,” he recalled. “And she struggled with that decision."

In August 1950, the army listed Blue as “missing in action Korea,” A year later, his remains were recovered but not identified. For nearly 68 years, he was listed as "unknown x-1664."

August says his brother's remains were finally identified last August. He's grateful for the service but troubled by what he's learned about his brother's death.

"He was captured. Because at the base of his skull, there was contusions. He had fractured ribs and had bullets had penetrated both thigh bones,” August said. “This is what the pathologist said. Animals had bitten his lower extremities. So he was tortured."

Hal Barker and his brother helped bring the family closure through a veteran identification service called the Korean War Project.

"It appears that he was captured, based on the location of where his remains were found,” Barker said. “It was very common after capture for there to be horrible consequences."

"My brother wasn't a coward,” August said. “I know he fought.  I know he did."

The Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency says today there are still 7,702 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War.

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