Remains of Spalding Co. Korean War vet finally returning home

Remains of Spalding Co. Korean War vet finally returning home

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SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. -

A Spalding County war hero is coming home more than six decades after being declared missing in action in the Korean War. The remains of Pfc. Bobby Byars were returned to the U.S. in 1993, but it's taken this long to match them to his only surviving relative.

The conflict in Korea is often called "The Forgotten War," but Charles Byars never forgot about his older brother Bobby, who went missing in action there in 1950.

"Even when he left, I was taller than he was at 13. He was only about 5'6'' and I was getting about 5'8'' or 5'9'' at that time," said Charles Byars.

Charles Byars was in shop class at the old Griffin Middle School when he got the word that his brother Bobby wasn't coming home.

"Told us to cut off all the machines and he was talking the sheriff. And the sheriff come over to me and said he needed to talk to me, "said Charles Byars.

That was 62 years ago. But the day after Christmas, Charles got a present he never had expected: Bobby Byars' remains had been identified by the U.S. Army.

"Very emotional as you can understand. I just couldn't believe it because I had really given up hope that he would ever be found," Charles Byars said.    

His brother's remains were returned by North Korea in a deal it made with the U.S. in 1993. It's taken nearly 20 years for the Army to identify him because his remains were among more than a thousand other American soldiers.

"They did match every bone to my DNA and to my brothers," Charles Byars said.

Now all Byars wants is for his brother to be remembered for his ultimate sacrifice.

"I want them to remember that he was a hero, that he gave his life for this country. Not only he, but thousands of others," said Charles Byars.

Pfc. Bobby Byars' received a Purple Heart. His remains will be flown from Hawaii to Georgia next month.  The family is still discussing where to bury him, but they will hold a memorial service once he returns home.

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