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A Northern Kentucky POW, Missing Since Korea, Will Finally Be Buried at Home

Some mysteries are never solved, but after more than 60 years, Dorothy Gayhart now has some semblance of peace over her family’s own personal mystery.

In 1951, Paul Gordon served in the military during the Korean War. When he disappeared, Gayhart not only lost a brother, but also a best friend.
 
“We were like a foursome,” she said of the siblings and two others, who would spend all day together at the park. They would play baseball and softball most days. “He was the one who taught me to play ball.”
 
Some time between 1949 and 1951, Gordon came home to Crittenden on leave. Gayhart said that was the last time she saw her brother.
 
Once she realized he was gone, she and her family made efforts to find him. A politician at a town hall meeting guided her on her mission of getting the answers she needed. But she had no success – at least not until years later.
 
These days, the Department of Defense is running a program out of Hawaii where they are using DNA results to identify the remains in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
 
Gordon was the third soldier from Kentucky to be identified in this way.
 
Using blood from Gayhart, the technicians found Gordon and notified his sister, who is also his last remaining immediate relative. She said that her blood was almost identical to Gordon’s, so there was no question that it was him.
 
“I didn’t think he would ever come home to be honest. I was really surprised when they called me,” Gayhart said. She said that although it was shocking, it was a nice surprise.
 
Gordon, apparently a prisoner of war, was placed in the tomb in 1992. Now that the government has the technology to find out who the soldiers are, efforts are being taken to find families and friends and give them the burials they deserve.
 
Visitation for Gordon is set for Thursday from 4-8 p.m. at Sherman Baptist Church in Dry Ridge. The funeral will take place Friday at 11 a.m. He will be buried with full military honors in the Williamstown Cemetery.
 
While it is not the ideal homecoming, Gayhart said she is glad to know the truth.
 
“I’m happy he’s coming home, but I’m sad that it happened,” she said. “He was a good brother.”
 
Erin Grigson is a senior at the University of Kentucky, where she is studying journalism and music education.

Photo: Paul Gordon, a former POW of the Korean War, was identified through DNA testing and will be buried in Willamstown with full military honors. (Photo provided)

This story originally appeared at KY Forward