'It's a Day I Always Hoped For': Missing Korean War Veteran Returns Home to Bay Area - NBC Bay Area
San Francisco

San Francisco

The latest news from around San Francisco

'It's a Day I Always Hoped For': Missing Korean War Veteran Returns Home to Bay Area

The San Francisco native's flag-draped casket was carried off a plane at San Francisco International Airport late Wednesday.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    A missing Korean War veteran has returned home to the Bay Area. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Wednesday, April 6, 2016)

    A missing Korean War veteran has returned home to the Bay Area.

    Cpl. Robert Perry Graham was declared missing in action 65 years ago. The San Francisco native's flag-draped casket was carried off a plane at San Francisco International Airport late Wednesday.

    "It's something that my aunts, uncles and mother had always dreamed about," nephew James George said. "Having this closure."

    Closure the family thought would never happen.

    Graham, a 21-year-old member of the United States Army, was sent to fight in the Korean War and never returned.

    His family said the official report showed Graham in 1953 passed away in a POW camp. He was declared missing in action two years prior to that when his unit came under attack.

    "It's a day I always hoped for," niece Nicole Venturelli said.

    Venturelli only knew about Graham through her late father.

    George, a retired Marine, along with his cousin submitted their DNA after receiving requests to do so from the military. Last fall, they found out there was a match after testing co-mingled remains for dozens of Korean War veterans.

    On Wednesday, George had the honor of escorting his uncle from Hawaii to SFO -- Graham's final journey home.

    "We still have 5,800 soldiers, sailors, marines that are still missing from the Korean War," George said. "And those families won't have the closure I have."

    Graham will be buried with full military honors on Friday in Colma.

    Get the latest from NBC Bay Area anywhere, anytime
    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android