Korean War POW returns home…no longer missing


Was he cold…lonely…scared as he lay dying? A North Korean prisoner-of-way camp was a long way from Kearny, N.J.

One wonders; I wonder.

An Associated Press story at ArmyTimes.com (Military IDs remains of Korean War soldier) identified the remains of a Korean War POW.  Army Cpl. John W. Lutz has come home.

Stories like these always make me wonder about the unknown human element behind the story. Today’s cold and rainy weather probably fuels my pensive mood.

It’s been almost 60 years since Corporal Lutz went missing in May 1951 near the Chaun-Ni near South Korea’s central western coast. He was with the 1st Ranger Infantry Company.

What was it like for the corporal during his final moments as he laid dying of malnutrition in that POW camp? I thought to myself.

Maybe he calculated his chances for escape.

Maybe he thought about how he could ease his hunger pangs.

Maybe he thought about his post-war life and returning to whatever he held dearly — family, girlfriend, car…whatever a 21-year-old man in 1951 America longed for.

Maybe he thought about the young baseball season. How was his beloved team doing? Corporal Lutz’s hometown was across the Hudson River from New York City. He might have been a fan of either the New York Yankees or Giants, or possibly the Brooklyn Dodgers. Maybe he wondered when his team would win their next World Series — 1949-1953 for the “Bronx Bombers,” 1953 for the “Jints,” and 1955 for “Dem Bums.”

Maybe he wondered if anyone would remember him. Yes,  we do thanks to the folks at Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Hawaii.

Corporal Lutz finally had a funeral. It was today, April 13, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Rest in Peace, Corporal Lutz. Thank you for serving.

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2 thoughts on “Korean War POW returns home…no longer missing

  1. Thank you for your interesting comments. Similiar thoughts have crossed my mind since the Army found me and informed me that Jackie’s remains had been found and identified.
    With no siblings living, and as the eldest niece, I buried my uncle Jackie last week at Arlington. My dad, his brother, was probably the closest to him in the family.
    Jackie was wounded and came home to heal. On the day he was returning to combat, he stopped by our home to visit with my dad and mom prior to returning to Korea. I was only four years old but remember the little wooden doll with pink dress he gave to me.
    Who really knows what he was thinking about. Wouldn’t it be nice if just one thought included a little girl waving goodbye to him as he hopped on the bus with his gear.

  2. Patricia, I am honored you read my blog. Yes, your uncle probably was also thinking fondly of the little girl he gave the little wooden doll with the pink dress. I appreciate your uncle’s service and sacrifice.

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