Marine Corps Pfc. Grady J. Crawford returned home Friday, nearly 70 years after his mother received a telegram saying he'd gone missing on a frozen battlefield in the Korean War, thousands of miles from where he'd grown up in Dallas.
His arrival begins a long-delayed homecoming celebration for Grady's family and a day of reflection for a lost son of the city who died in a bleak and distant war.
U.S. Navy sailors at Los Angeles International Airport. It took the U.S. government nearly 40 years to recover the wreckage of the E-1B Tracer aircraft that crashed, killing Guerra in 1967. (Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
As kids, Ruben and Raul thought they had life all figured out.
They would grow up and live minutes from each other, be best men in each other's weddings, godfathers to each other's children. They would sit side by side at Dodger Stadium, two old men in a sea of blue.
The friends never imagined that after high school both would be sent to Vietnam — but only one would return.
The loss was so painful that for 40 years Ruben Valencia could hardly bring himself to say Raul Guerra's name.
U.S. military officials were left in the lurch last Thursday when North Korean representatives simply failed to show up for a meeting on recovering and repatriating the remains of the U.S. troops killed during the Korean War, the Washington Post reports.