Recently identified remains of Korean War POW buried in N. Charleston

Recently identified remains of Korean War POW buried in N. Charleston
Davis's remains arrived Tuesday at the Charleston International Airport. (Source: Provided)
Davis's remains arrived Tuesday at the Charleston International Airport. (Source: Provided)

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Army Master Sgt Finley Davis, 39, was fighting off attacks from the Chinese in the northwestern area of North Korea when he was reported missing in action during the Korean War on Dec. 1, 1950.

American soldiers later repatriated said Davis died in Camp 5, a prisoner of war camp following the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River.

Decades later, he was buried with full military honors in North Charleston on Thursday after his remains were identified in August 2017.

"After 67 years it's just fantastic. I'm happy. I cry all the time, but I'm so happy he's finally here, finally home," Davis' daughter Roseann Stonestreet said.

Davis' remains arrived Tuesday at the Charleston International Airport.

"I thought it was a joke," Stonestreet,78, said of the phone call she received from the U.S. Army notifying her that her father was identified. "The man on the other line said 'No ma'am, this is not a joke.' It's sinking in but I never thought this day would happen."

The last thing Stonestreet remembered about her father was a night at the movies when he took her to see Flamingo Road with Joan Crawford.

Davis' body was returned to the United States in 1954 as part of Operation Glory, but he couldn't be identified at the time.

His remains were marked simply as "X-14024"

"I just assumed the worst," Stonestreet said. "That he was buried in Korea somewhere and that's where he would remain."

"There's just something special about this, words can't define it," Joe Lysaght with the State of South Carolina American Legion said. "There are way too many and we need to bring every one we can back."

She added her mother always held faith that Davis was alive, and she never remarried after he left for the war.

The body known as unknown X-14024 was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.  On June 17, 2014, the remains were disinterred and sent for lab analysis.

"It was difficult when I was younger," Stonestreet said. "All the other kids had a dad. We always had pictures and she (her mother) had stories. I went to nursing school under the GI bill."

Scientists from the Defense POW Accounting Agency used DNA analysis to identify the body as Davis.

He was a member of Company D, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.

"It's not just a soldier coming home, it's my great-grandfather. He's finally being laid to rest," Zachary Poney said.

Poney is Davis' great-grandson and also serves in the U.S. Army as an engineer.

Stonestreet, who now lives in Henderson, Nevada, was in North Charleston on Thursday for the funeral at Carolina Memorial Gardens Cemetery where Davis was buried near his wife.

Davis was buried with full military honors, including a gun salute and playing of the bagpipes.

Stonestreet was finally presented her fathers flag.

"I could feel my heart. We had nothing at all and now he's here, the flag is here and it's just wonderful," Stonestreet explained. "Never give up hope. You don't know when that phone is going to ring."

More than 7,704 Americans from the Korean War are still unaccounted for, according to the DPAA.

A rosette will be placed next to Davis' name on the Court of the Missing where he was previously buried in Hawaii.

The State of South Carolina American Legion plans to make visits to mortuaries across the country to take remains of unidentified veterans and finally give them the resting place they deserve.

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