Soldier's family receives hero's honors 59 years after he disappeared

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CAMP WILLIAMS -- A Utah family finally received military honors for their war hero Tuesday, nearly six decades overdue. The World War II and Korean War veteran now has a permanent place of respect at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery next to Camp Williams.

Master Sgt. Edward William Hereth never came home from the Korean War. On November 30, 1950, he went Missing in Action in Northern Korea, and three years later was listed as Presumed Dead.

His remains were never found, and his family never got to bury him or pay their respects. But on Tuesday, family, friends and veterans held a remembrance ceremony where they presented Hereth's widow with a folded American flag and played taps for the soldier.

Hereth's son Rick was only 5 years old when his dad went missing, but the memory of his father was always with him.

"I felt like I'd been robbed not to be able to grow up and get to know him. It's always been in my mind that this would be an opportunity to be with him again," Rick said. "If this would have happened when I was 5 or 6 years old, it would not have had nearly the meaning as it has now."

**The Korean Conflict**
The Korean Conflict, often referred to as "The Forgotten War" or "The Unknown War," began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea because of mounting frustrations during reunification talks. The U.S. and United Nations intervened on the side of the South. The war ended in July 1953 with an armistice, which created the Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries.
Hereth's widow, Sestia, is now 98 and never truly got to honor her husband for his sacrifice. "He was so kind and loving to everybody," Sestia Hereth said. "I was so blessed to be his wife. I'm still so blessed."

Upon hearing Hereth's story back on Father's Day, veterans Jerry Bishop and Gary Campbell worked with VFW Post 4918 of American Fork to organize the ceremony. As Campbell put it, it's something that should have been done years ago but simply fell through the cracks.

In the months ahead, Master Sgt. Hereth will receive a headstone in the Veterans Cemetery, an important remembrance for the entire family.

**Who is Master Sergeant Edward William Hereth?**![](
Master Sergeant Hereth was born December 18, 1913 in Salinas, Kansas. He was a veteran of World War II. In Korea he was a member of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy near the Ch'ongch'on River on November 30, 1950. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953. For his leadership and valor, Master Sergeant Hereth was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, The United Nations Service Medal, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal and other commendations.
"We've never been able to celebrate Memorial Day because we didn't have any place we could go and pay homage to him and respect for him," Rick said. Hereth was a New York native. His son and family moved to Utah decades ago. Hereth will now be forever honored among other Utah troops who never came home.

"I loved him very much and know that he loved me," Sestia said.

Hereth was previously awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. During Tuesday's ceremony, he also received his 21 gun salute.



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