BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (LEX 18) – After almost 70 years, a Kentucky family is ready for a fallen hero to finally return home.
Joe Elmore was declared "Missing in Action" during the Korean War, DNA from his sister matched his remains. On Wednesday, he comes back to Kentucky.
Debbie Jo Bowlin lives in Bowling Green now, but her uncle grew up in Albany. Bowlin’s mother was only 15 when her brother joined the service.
Elmore was killed in combat in the Korean War in 1950, but his body wasn’t recovered for decades. Finally, last month it was announced that her mother’s DNA matched Elmore’s remains.
"I’ve waited my entire life obviously. My mother, she’s waited 67.5, almost 68 years for her brother to come home," said Bowlin.
Bowlin says more than 25 members of her family will be waiting on the tarmac in Nashville as the soldier’s body returns to the continental US.
Then, the family will be escorted back to Albany, Kentucky, where a memorial sits on his empty grave site.
Joe Elmore will be laid to rest this weekend in his hometown. Bowlin says the hardest part will be watching her mother say goodbye to another family member.
"I’m pretty much an emotional wreck. Watching her go through this has been really hard. I’ve watched her bury all of her siblings, and her mother," said Bowlin. "At 83 years old, she’s ready to reunite with her brother tomorrow."
Elmore’s remains are being accompanied to Nashville by his great great nephew, Nathaniel, who is a US Marine.