PDT Staff Writer
Glenn Bear, who lives on U.S. 52 behind the Shawnee Golf Course, has looked at a brownish cast photo of a handsome young man in uniform for nearly 62 years.
“This (pointing to the photo) has been hanging on my wall over my couch wherever I have lived,” Bear said. “I always keep him in my heart.”
“Him” is his brother, Korean War veteran Sgt. Stanley Wayne Bear, 19, who was killed in battle on Sept. 4, 1950 near Masan, South Korea, in the vicinity of the Naktong River during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. His remains had not been recovered over that 62 year period.
On Oct. 4, 2012, Bear’s remains were positively identified using mitochondrial DNA collected from his surviving sister and a nephew.
“I was 11 when my brother was killed,” Bear said. “One of my older brothers came and told me.”
Bear had continually thought about his brother since learning of his death, but was not expecting to ever receive news that his remains had been found.
“I went to Danny Sissel, he was in the (Veterans) office in the courthouse annex, and he and I are good friends,” Bear said. “I went to him probably six years ago and asked him if he could help me in any way. He came to me a month or two after that, and said, ‘Glenn, I have gotten a hold of people, everyone that I could, and they are going to do everything that they can to find something out. But I didn’t hear anything for years until about three weeks ago.”
Bear said a woman from the government got in touch with his ex-wife, setting things in motion for what will be the return of Stanley Bear’s remains.
“She had talked to a lady from the service who had inquired about me,” Bear said. “I didn’t get a hold of this lady for some time. This has been going back and forth with her for about a week or so. Finally my sister called me and told me they had found the remains through DNA, and this was really exciting. I had asked my dad for years and years because I can remember him well. My dad always told me there was nothing there for them to find. He said that he (Stanley Bear) had been blown up off from a tank. And this was always left in the back of my mind.”
For more than a decade, the Department of Defense has worked in conjunction with the governments of South and North Korea to investigate and recover unaccounted-for U.S. service members. The process began with Search and Recovery teams working on site in both friendly and potentially hazardous locations. The recovered remains of service members were then transported to the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii and to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and DNA Identification Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and Rockville, Md. Here the long process of identification began and continues.
Sergeant Bear was a member of Company F, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Sergeant Bear was born Sept. 16, 1931, in New Boston, Ohio, the son of the late Orville and Emma Irene Riffe Bear. He was preceded in death by a brother, Edward Cletis Bear. Two brothers have passed since his death, Lee Roy Bear and Virgil Ray Bear, both of Greenup. He is survived by two brothers, Carl Randall Bear of Pittsford, Mich., and Glen Otis Bear of Stout, Ohio; and one sister, Faye Bear Worthington of Ashland. He is also survived by two half sisters, Nancy Bear Stone of Greenup and Melissa Bear Little of Piketon, Ohio; two half brothers, John Max Bear of Piketon and Timothy Orville Bear of Columbia, N.C.; and many nieces and nephews.
Bear said all of the arrangements have been handled by his oldest brother in Michigan.
“They’re (brought) him back from Columbus. They (left) at 7:30 or 8 o’clock in the morning Saturday,” Bear said. “Reed Funeral Home in Greenup(picked) him up at the airport at 10:30 in the morning.”
Bear said a graveside service was held Saturday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North East, with military rites performed by Fort Knox.
Does the discovery of Sgt. Bear’s remains bring closure to this man who has held onto the memory of an older brother lost at war?
“Somewhat,” Bear said. “I’m grateful that they own up to it and that they are bringing him home. I am grateful.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org