Samuel Carson Harris, Jr.
Corporal, U.S. Army
Service Number 14276188
Missing in Action – Presumed Dead
Died November 27, 1950 in Korea
Corporal Harris was a member of Company C, 65th Engineer Combat Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy in North Korea on November 27, 1950. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953. His remains were not recovered.
His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
Corporal Harris was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Family members of an East Tennessee soldier considered missing in action for nearly 60 years will attend his burial at Arlington National Cemetery on April 10, 2009.
Corporal Samuel C. Harris Jr., of Rogersville was identified in January, according to his sister, Ruth Griswold. She helped identify a unique gold cap in teeth found at a burial site in Korea. Researchers also confirmed Harris' identity using Griswold's DNA.
Griswold told 10News on Friday from her home in Marietta, Georgia that she had mixed emotions when she helped identify Harris' teeth. “I thought I was going to pass out, it was very painful,” Griswold said.
Harris still has family and friends in the Rogersville area of Hawkins County where he grew up, according to Griswold.
Griswold said she hoped other families who have missing servicemen and servicewomen would contact military representatives to donate DNA that could help connect unidentified remains with surviving relatives.
Harris' remains are being held in Hawaii. An army colonel from Georgia will escort them to Washington, DC next week.
The Defense Department on Friday released the names of two other servicemen found along with Harris: Corporal Lloyd D. Stidham, of Beattyville, Kentucky, and Corporal Robert G. Schoening, of Blaine, Washington. A statement said the name of a fourth soldier is being withheld until his family is briefed.
The four soldiers were assigned to Company C, 65th Combat Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. The military says they were attacked south of the Kuryong River on Nov. 25, 1950. A team excavated a site near the river where the remains were found in 2000.
Soldier missing for 58 years to be laid to rest
By KAY POWELL
Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thursday, April 9, 2009
For 58 years, Margie Griswold of Marietta never gave up hope. It was November 27, 1950, that her brother was reported missing in action in the Korean War. It was December 2008 that his remains finally were identified, thanks to a gold tooth and DNA on file from his family.
The MIA status of Griswold’s brother, U.S. Army Corporal Samuel C. Harris Jr., 21, of Rogersville, Tennessee, was never talked about in her family, said Griswold, who grew up as Ruth Harris in Rogersville. Harris’ mother died thinking he was still alive because no body had been found, Griswold said.
During a 1964 visit to the Punch Bowl Crater Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Griswold first realized there was something she could do to try and find her brother.
“I decided if God wanted me to find him, He’d lead me to him,” Griswold said. She joined an MIA-prisoners of war support group. In 2002, she and her surviving brothers and sisters contributed DNA to help the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command identify her brother if any remains were ever found.
“DNA is not used as the single identifying factor. There is other circumstantial evidence that plays into it,” said Capt. Mary Olsen of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. “DNA is used in approximately 80 percent of our identifications as a piece of that puzzle that leads to positive identification.”
Harris, who wanted to make the Army his career, was assigned to Company C, 65th Combat Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. On November 25, 1950, Company C came under intense enemy attack near Hill 222 south of the Kuryong River east of the Camel’s Head bend in North Korea. The men were reported missing November 27, according to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office.
The family held a memorial service for Harris in 2004 and will gather again Friday for his 1 p.m. burial in the national cemetery. It will be the second Arlington burial for Griswold. Her husband, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Walter Lee Griswold Jr. of Marietta, died in February 2006 and was buried in Arlington in July.
In 2000, a joint United States/North Korea team excavated a mass grave overlooking the Kuryong River in P’yongan-Pukto Province. Harris was first identified by the gold tooth he had since childhood. Definitive identification came from a match with the DNA samples the family had donated.
Shock was Griswold’s first reaction when she was notified her brother had been identified. “It was like electricity was running through my whole body. I was laughing and crying at the same time,” she said.
“I’m going to work real hard to get across to anyone who has a person missing in their family from any war to go get the DNA,” Griswold said. “That match with the few bones that were left is what gave us positive identification.”
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard