PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – His family had given up hope, but thanks to DNA technology, the remains of a serviceman who died 63 years ago in the Korean War will finally be coming home.
It will happen Tuesday at the Pittsburgh International Airport.
Cpl. Alva Clifford Groves’ family waited a long time for this to happen.
Of course, his parents are now gone and so are most of his siblings.
But Tuesday, when his remains arrive, his surviving sister will be here and she says she’ll be very proud.
“That’s the one thing I remember him by the most,” said Lillian Anderson.
At her West Virginia home, Anderson shared pictures of her older brothers.
“These are all just younger,” she says.
She remembers the boy who used to like to climb trees and was so anxious to join the army, he did so at 17 with special permission from his mom.
But after he went to Korea in 1950, they got the news.
“The first telegram we go was that he was just missing in action,” said Anderson.
As time went on, they assumed his remains would never be found.
“After you wait 15 or 20 years, you sort of give up,” said Anderson.
But in the early ‘90s, North Korea turned over hundreds of boxes of co-mingled remains. Anderson’s niece made a request for DNA analysis to try to identify those of Cpl. Groves. Eight years after Anderson gave a blood sample, she got a call.
“I never dreamed that anything would even be found,” she said. “It was a surprise.”
And when she thinks of her brother’s long overdue homecoming she says, “When I start to think of it, I start crying. Thankful, we’ll get them returned.”