The Body Of A Korean War Soldier To Return Home To Martinsville After 65 Years

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) -- The body of a Korean War soldier is returning home more than 60 years after he went Missing in Action.

Raymond McMillan joined the service in November of 1948.

He was a medic with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division and worked his way up to the rank of Sergeant First Class.

A relative says he became a prisoner of war during the Battle of Hoengsong in 1951.

The family received word he was missing in action three years later.

Raymond McMillan will soon find his final resting place in Roselawn Burial Park in Martinsville.

WDBJ7 spoke with his niece, who says this is all very overwhelming.

For 65 years, his family was left without answers.

Now, she says he will receive the homecoming he always deserved.

Nancy Strickland says she watched her grandmother look for her son, every day after they got the news he was Missing In Action.

"But she would get up every morning, she would open her front door. She would look up the sidewalk, and then she would shut her door back. She did it again at night before she went to bed. And before she went to bed she said maybe tomorrow," Raymond McMillan's Niece Nancy Strickland explains about her grandmother.

"This is an answered prayer. It's a miracle," Strickland said.

In 2007, the family was able to start using DNA Technology to identify his remains.

Strickland says the technology guaranteed a 100 percent match.

"He's coming home for every American that's out there. He's coming home an American hero. And a local hero, this is where he was born and raised," Strickland said.

"A true American hero and make sure that our citizens are aware of how they can take part in the ceremony and help honor him," Martinsville Mayor Danny Turner said.

Martinsville's Mayor says city leaders have been working hard to make sure the Army Sgt First Class will have a proper homecoming.

"His sacrifice was great, the maximum sacrifice he can give for his country and this community and we are very proud to have his final resting place here in Martinsville," Mayor Turner said.

Sgt First Class McMillan will be flown into the Greensboro, North Carolina, Airport at noon next Thursday.

He will then be escorted home by the Martinsville city sheriff and police.

The services are being held at One Accord Baptist Church on Kings Mountain Road in Henry County.

A tribute service is being held on Friday March 24th from 6 to 8 pm.

On Saturday March 26th, visitation starts at 1 pm and the funeral starts at 3 pm.

After the funeral on Saturday the 26th, Liberty Street in Martinsville will be shut down and the Mayor is working on getting 140 volunteers to hold flags to honor Sgt. First Class McMillan.