WASHINGTON D.C. - Elmore B. Goodwin of Norfolk was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, bringing some peace of
mind to a family that had waited decades for closure.
The Army Sgt. 1st Class was 25-years-old when he was killed during the Korean War and his family and loved ones had been waiting 68 years for this day, with the only hope coming when they were contacted about Goodwin being found only recently.
During a 1998 Joint Recovery Operation in North Korea, in efforts to find the bodies of U.S. soldiers lost during the war, a recovery team found remains that would later be identified as Goodwin.
Goodwin was listed as missing in action on November 27, 1950, when engaging in combat with the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the vicinity of Anju, North Korea. Like others unaccounted for after the war, he was declared dead in December 1953 by the United States.
Born in 1925, Goodwin was the youngest of ten children when he grew up in the City of Norfolk.
Before the Korean War, Goodwin was apart of the Allied Forces in Germany at the end of World War II, joining the U.S. Army at the age of 18 in order to make the end of the war and serve his country. He would never marry or have children before his death.
According to the nephew of Goodwin's, Dr. Stefan C. Goodwin, who was nine-years-old at the time when his uncle died, the family took the disappearance and eventual death of their relative hard.
Sergeant Goodwin's father would die in 1952 not having found closure in his son's death, and his mother would spend her time in the 1950s writing many letters to the Department of Defense in efforts to find her son.
After the Army declared Goodwin dead in 1953, the family would not know about his whereabouts or what may have happened until years later.
Goodwin's remains were found by a North Korean farmer in 1998, and were transported to the United States after a Joint U.S./North Korean recovery team interviewed the farmer who claimed to have found human remains in a cornfield in the Kujang District of the country.
After the remains were repatriated to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii it would take a while for the Goodwin's to be notified.
Dr. Goodwin said they only found out about the discovery over the last few years when the Department of Defense reached out to a member of their family for a DNA sample to match the remains. The results verified the remains were Sergeant Goodwin's.
A relative of Goodwin's who was in attendance at the funeral in Arlington Monday was Maryland State Senator Dr. Delores Goodwin Kelley, the eldest of Goodwin's nieces and nephews.
Today, 7,699 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.
Goodwin’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, according to the Defense Department.