After a nearly seven-decade wait, Mary Bowlin has the closure she has prayed for since Dec. 2, 1950 when her brother, U.S. Army Private Joe Stanton Elmore was killed in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War and listed as missing in action.
“They found his remains, and I hope I can keep it calm,” said Bowlin, who lives in Bowling Green. “I’m the only sibling left in my family now. He was a wonderful person.
“He would say ‘don’t make too much of it.’
“I was 15 when he was missing so it’s been a lifetime, and I thank God for this. I’ve cried, and all these years I’ve prayed for him to be found before I go.”
Elmore was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division when he was engaged in combat in North Korea on Dec. 2, 1950, according to a page dedicated to him on the Korean War Project website.
The army found Elmore’s remains five years ago. Bowlin and her now deceased sister had already provided a DNA sample to the military in the 1990s with the hopes of bringing their brother home. Bowlin learned Thursday that the DNA she and her sister provided all those years ago was a match to the remains that the army had located.
The army briefed the family in May telling Bowlin, they thought they had found Elmore. DNA confirmed their discovery.
“When he got to be 20, he said, ‘I want to serve my God and my country.’ My mother said, ‘there is going to be war over there.’ He was truly a good man. He was a Christian. He belonged to the Methodist Church. He loved to play his guitar and his mandolin with my other brothers. We had a wonderful bringing up.
“We wasn’t rich but we were rich with our love,” Bowlin said.
Plans are underway to bring Elmore home to be buried next to his parents and other relatives in Clinton County where he was born and raised. He will be given a military burial.
“He was just 20 years old. I’m so thankful. We’re going to take him down home. He will be where all of my family is buried.
“We’ll finally have closure after almost 68 years,” Bowlin said.