Gilbert woman hopes father’s remains on way back to the U.S. with those of other Korean war vets

Posted at 3:49 PM, Jul 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-29 17:49:00-04

The bodies of 55 U.S. service members lost in the Korean War are about to be returned home.

The return of these remains is meant to fulfill a commitment made by KI’m Jong Un during his summit with President Donald Trump in June.

There are still 7,700 soldiers missing from the Korean War. Many of them are believed to be in North Korea.

The 55 sets of remains on their way back to U.S. soil are all unidentified. A Gilbert woman is hoping her father might be among them.

Janis Curran was just 3 years old when her father, LT. Charles Garrison, went off to fight in the Korean War.

It seemed he had only just returned from WWII.

“They were bitter about having to go back so that’s why they called themselves the ‘Bitter Birds,'” said Curran.

The fighter pilot would never return. His plane went down over present-day South Korea. While it is likely he survived the crash, attempts to find him were fruitless.

“They kept circling until they were running out of fuel and they had to leave,” said Curran.

She heard he may have been spotted as a prisoner of war in North Korea.

His remains have never been recovered.

“My mom felt it was more important for us to accept his loss. And she just said, ‘Honey he died,'” Curran recalled.

Curran says she has no memory of her father before he left for war. She now only has his numerous medals, a few photos, and the last letter he wrote to his wife.

“The last letter is to tell Janis and Karen to be good little girls, daddy will bring them something special,” she said. “Having that written down meant so much to both of us.”

Now the bodies of several dozen unidentified service members are about to be sent home.

“This is our next best hope,” said Curran.

Curran knows the chances of her father being among these 55 sets of remains are slim. “The odds are against me of course but still miracles happen all the time,” she said.

But she’s still holding onto hope that 67 years later, Lt. Garrison will come home.

“I don’t think I’m going to feel real closure though until he’s in the cemetery next to my mom. I pray that happens, but I don’t know,” said Curran.

The remains will be sent to a base in Hawaii for testing. The military already has Curran’s DNA samples. It could be a two months before results come back.