Remains found of San Diego soldier killed in Korean War - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Remains found of San Diego soldier killed in Korean War

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — The long wait is over for the San Diego family of a U.S. soldier missing in action in the Korean War. 
 
For decades, friends and family have kept his memory alive, all the while hoping to, one day,  retrieve his remains. 

That day has finally come.  

This is a remarkable story - one that remained a mystery for more than 65 years until just recently thanks to technology.    

Because of that, a family friend said U.S. Army Major Jack Griffiths' loved ones will be forever grateful. 

Michael Draper never met Army Major Griffiths, but he's heard plenty of stories from his son Joe. 

"He'd served in world war 2, he was a captain at the time," said Draper. "He was promoted to major." 

Draper - a good friend of Joe Griffiths - is speaking on his behalf following news that after 66 years Joe's father's remains have been identified. 

"It was a profound moment," Draper said.  

That moment came last October. 

Joe, an only child, now in his seventies was at his San Diego home when he received a call from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. 

Back in 2013, scientists exhumed a grave in Hawaii where unidentified remains from the Korean war had been buried. 

Marked with the number X14411, they used DNA technology to finally give those remains a name. 

"His file included dental records [of] every time he saw the dentist," Draper explained. 
 
Soon after, two government officials visited Joe and shared with him a report detailing the investigation. 

Michael Draper was there as well. 

"It was remarkable- just the detail and the energy they put into this," Draper said. "It was moving" 

Draper said Joe was emotional at times - and for good reason. 

He was just a little boy when his dad disappeared near Somindong, North Korea in 1950. 

Surviving POWs reported he had been killed. 

And while he was declared deceased, his original death certificate revealed there were no remains to prove it until now. 

This month, Army Major Griffiths will receive a proper burial at Rosecrans. 

A fitting tribute and one the government is working to restore for the more than 7,700 Americans still unaccounted for. 

In 1954, the United Nations and Communist forces returned the remains of those killed during the Korean war. 

Last year alone, DNA technology was able to help identify 166 of those people. 

"You don't get stories like this often and I think even Joe had abandoned hope that there was any news was gonna come," Draper said. "He was never gonna know what happened to his father."

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