Written by Lorra B.
Minard was only 17 when he enlisted in the U.S Army, having begged his mother to let him enlist before his 18th birthday.
It was only two short years later, Feb. 16, 1951, that Minard starved to death in a North Korean prison camp, according to The Bellingham Herald.
“Against great odds, the U.S. military found his remains in far northern North Korea, at a time (2005) when that troubled country still allowed some searches for remains by U.S. military recovery teams.
The Army wasn’t sure for the next 11 years about whose remains they’d lifted out of that roadside grave. But DNA analysis proved the remains were Minard’s.”
According to the Pentagon, Chinese communist soldiers attacked United Nations forces near the Ch’ongch’on River and the next day Minard, 19 at the time, was reported missing and never heard from again.
Minard’s great-nephew, Bruce Stubbs, stated that after his capture he was taken to a prison camp and starved to death.
His mother, Bertha Minard, never forgave herself for giving the written permission to join the Army and died nine months after hearing of her son’s death.
Stubbs stated, “They say she died of a broken heart. I [also] remember the pain his death caused my grandmother Helen when I was a kid.
He was her brother.
When I was at the farm with her, she’d wring her hands and tear up, looking out the door, and tell how he was captured, and then how he was missing in action, and then how he died.
Wayne Minard was not among “The Lucky Ones,” to be returned alive.
The hurt and pain they felt, you could see it. I didn’t fully appreciate it as an 8- or 10-year-old kid, but as you get older you understand why they hurt so badly.”
Stubbs went on to say, “The family still has letters he wrote home. In the early battles in Korea, they were always outnumbered. He’d write home about how the enemy were all like a whole lot of ants running down a hill at them.
He actually got shot in the hand in one battle and made a joke out of it.
He wrote that it showed that the other guys were really poor shots.”
Now, after 65 long years, Wayne Minard is finally coming home and will arrive on Wednesdays.
A statement by the Department of Defense was released last week regarding Minard:
“In late November 1950, Minard was a member of Company C, 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 to Kunu–ri,” the Army wrote.
“Enemy forces launched a large-scale attack with heavy artillery and mortar fire on Nov. 25, when the regiment was located in defense positions near the Chongchon River.
By the following day, enemy fighting had isolated the unit and they were ordered to withdraw. Minard was reported missing in action as of Nov. 26, 1950.
“Minard’s name did not appear on any POW list provided by the CPVF or the North Korean People’s Army,” the Army statement said. “However two repatriated American prisoners of war reported that Minard died at Hofong Camp, part of Pukchin-Tarigol Camp Cluster, on Feb. 16, 1951.
“Based on this information, a military review board amended Minard’s status to deceased in 1951.
“In April and May of 2005, a Joint Recovery Team conducted the 37th Joint Field Activity in Unsan County, South Pyongan Province, North Korea. On April 19, the team visited a site reported by a local witness to contain American remains.
“To identify Minard’s remains, scientists from [the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency] and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched two sisters, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records and circumstantial evidence.”
According to the Pentagon, there are 7,784 American remains still unaccounted for from the Korean War.
Wayne Minard, welcome home brave soldier.
Thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice. RIP. NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN.