Perhaps it was fitting that Bonne Wolff said her father, Douglas Smead, received a call this past St. Patrick’s Day that the remains of his brother, Army Cpl. Walter A. Smead, who was killed in the Korean War, were finally identified.
“Dad had been waiting 70 years to hear something about his brother, so it was just incredible,” she said in a phone interview.
Walter A. Smead, who grew up in Hadley, was reporting missing in action on Dec. 6, 1950. He was a member of Battery A, 57th Field Artillery Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division, which was attacked by enemy forces as they attempted to withdraw near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, according to a news release.
His remains were not recovered at the time, but they were among the 55 boxes turned over by North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to President Donald Trump following a summit on July 27, 2018.
“From what I understand, they were excavating for new power plant, nuclear reactor. They come across remains,” Wolff said.
“Walter’s remains were in box 38.”
Wolff said two of Smead’s arm bones were found and analyzed. Wolff’s father had provided a genetic sample in 2004.
“DNA is a wonderful thing,” he said.
Sean Everette, spokesman for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said there were more than 200 sets of remains contained in those 55 boxes.