Soldier MIA during Korean War returned to Dayton, receives full military honors

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An army soldier who went missing in action back in 1950 has finally returned home to Dayton.

“PFC Lavern Ullmer, who was in Korean is now back in America and will be buried next to his mother and father, because we don’t ever leave a fallen comrade,” CMS Chad Brown said.

Brown is currently a member of the unit Ullmer was once assigned to decades ago.

“For us to bring our fellow solider home was just unbelievably important.  The Army has a creed the ‘Soldier’s Creed’ and part of that is I will never leave a fallen comrade and it means something.  It’s one thing to say the words over and over again, it’s another thing to come to an event like this and actually see that manifest into something real,” Brown said.

For 65 years the family went without knowing what happened to their son, brother, uncle and cousin.

Military personnel revealed In late November 1950, Ullmer was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, fighting units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in North Korea, in a delaying action south from the Ch’ongch’on River to Kunu-ri.  Within days, more than half of the regiment was lost due to attacks from the CPFV.  The unit was ordered to withdraw, and when Ullmer could not be accounted for, he was declared missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950.

“It was an incredible combat and incredible battle. So much so it was named, already, through the services as the gauntlet.  The 2nd ID lost more than half of its personnel fighting through the gauntlet and all of its units assigned to the 2nd ID.  The 9th infantry where private Ullmer was assigned to receive the most casualties,” an Army representative said.  “What is amazing is that after 65 years of knowing nothing more than a family member was missing in action and presumed dead during the Korean War the family gathered anxiously to hear the Army’s account of Lavern Ullmer.”

It wasn’t until recently through DNA that his remains have been identified and returned to U.S. soil.

“It’s a miracle.  I never thought that I would ever be alive to see this day and it’s heartwarming it’s humbling I mean you can’t explain how you feel and I just thank God he’s home.  He’s in America,” Ullmer’s oldest living relative John Gray said.

Friday family, friends and fellow veterans were able to finally lay private first class Lavern Ullmer to rest with full military honors on Veteran’s Day.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s something that’s still hard to grasp after 66 years.  You know.  I was a little boy of 9 years old when I last saw him and for his remains to come back 66 years later to me that’s a Godly Miracle,” Gray said.

The family of PFC. Ullmer accepted the Purple Heart on his behalf Friday.

To date there are still 7,784 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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