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Korean War veteran's remains back home in Southland

The remains of a Korean War veteran returned home to SoCal Friday. It was a homecoming a long time in the making.
December 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Friday marked a heartfelt homecoming a long time in the making. The remains of Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gantt finally returned home to the Southland.

Gantt died while prisoner of war in North Korea in 1951. More than half a century later, his remains touched down at Los Angeles International Airport shortly before 5:30 a.m. aboard United Flight 534.

Gantt was only 26 years old when he was taken prisoner. He was a field medic and was defending his unit's position in North Korea.

The veteran's widow, 94-year-old Clara Gantt, was at the airport to receive her husband's flag-draped casket. She met Gantt in 1946 on a train from Texas to Los Angeles. They married in 1948.

He told her if anything were to happen to him, that she should remarry. But she told him she wouldn't - and she didn't. She says she remains his wife to this day.

"Sixty-some-odd years, and just receiving his remainings coming home was a blessing. And I'm so happy that I was living to accept him," she said.

Gantt was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor as well as a host of other military honors, including the Purple Heart. He also served with distinction in the South Pacific during World War II.

Friday, the decorated war hero took his last trip. His coffin was carried by U.S. Army Honor Guards. Law enforcement and the Patriot Guard escorted Gantt to his final resting place. His remains were set to be buried in Inglewood.


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