Medal of Honor Recipient Luther Story’s Remains Identified After 73 Years

Luther Herschel Story

U.S. Army

Rank: Private First Class (posthumous promotion to corporal)

Organization: US Army

Conflict: Korean War

Unit: A Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division

Date of Action: September 1, 1950, near Agok, South Korea

Date of Birth: July 20, 1931, Buena Vista, Georgia

Date of Death: September 1, 1950, Agok, Korea

Buried: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii (1950s)

Medal of Honor Citation

Pfc. Story, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. A savage daylight attack by elements of 3 enemy divisions penetrated the thinly held lines of the 9th Infantry. Company A beat off several banzai attacks but was bypassed and in danger of being cut off and surrounded. Pfc. Story, a weapons squad leader, was heavily engaged in stopping the early attacks and had just moved his squad to a position overlooking the Naktong River when he observed a large group of the enemy crossing the river to attack Company A. Seizing a machine gun from his wounded gunner he placed deadly fire on the hostile column killing or wounding an estimated 100 enemy soldiers. Facing certain encirclement the company commander ordered a withdrawal. During the move Pfc. Story noticed the approach of an enemy truck loaded with troops and towing an ammunition trailer. Alerting his comrades to take cover he fearlessly stood in the middle of the road, throwing grenades into the truck. Out of grenades he crawled to his squad, gathered up additional grenades and again attacked the vehicle. During the withdrawal the company was attacked by such superior numbers that it was forced to deploy in a rice field. Pfc. Story was wounded in this action, but, disregarding his wounds, rallied the men about him and repelled the attack. Realizing that his wounds would hamper his comrades he refused to retire to the next position but remained to cover the company’s withdrawal. When last seen he was firing every weapon available and fighting off another hostile assault. Private Story’s extraordinary heroism, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and were in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the military service.

April 26, 2023

On April 26, 2023, in a joint statement, the Presidents of the United States of America and the Republic of Korea announced that Corporal Luther H. Story, Medal of Honor Recipient from the Korean War, had been accounted for. 

Born and raised in Georgia, Story attended Americus High School before joining the US Army in 1948, at the age of seventeen. His older brother, Wilmoth, enlisted the same year. After some time in Saipan and Japan, Story, as part of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was deployed to South Korea in August 1950. The US forces were part of a defensive perimeter along the eastern shore of the Naktong River in the southeastern section of South Korea. On September 1, Story displayed extraordinary heroism as he led his weapons squad against oncoming forces of the Korean People’s Army. Killed in action at age nineteen, Story’s fellow GIs referred to him as “a guy with plenty of guts” and one of the bravest soldiers they had ever met.

For his “extraordinary heroism, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty,” Pfc. Story was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. On June 21, 1951, General Omar Bradley presented the Medal of Honor to Story’s father, Mark Story, at a ceremony at the Pentagon. 

Corporal Story’s remains were not immediately laid to rest. According to the White House statement, remains were recovered in October 1950, but none were positively identified as those of Cpl. Story. Three separate sets of unidentified remains were eventually buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific as Unknowns. On September 1, 1953, Story was declared dead by the US Army and his name was added to the Courts of the Missing at the same cemetery where his then-unidentified remains were buried. His family put up a memorial marker in the Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia. 

In June 2021, unidentified remains from the Korean war were disinterred by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as part of the Korean War Disinterment Plan. Story’s remains were identified by DPAA scientists through dental and anthropological analysis, while the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA to positively identify Cpl. Story. 

On May 29, 2023, seventy-three years after his death in South Korea, Medal of Honor Recipient Corporal Luther H. Story, who so valiantly gave up his life to save his fellow soldiers, will be laid to rest in Andersonville, Georgia. To indicate that he has been accounted for, a rosette will be placed next to his name on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Joint Statement from the Presidents of the United States and the Republic of Korea:  

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