Four State Hero laid to rest in Coffeyville, Kansas after being MIA for 68 years
COFFEYVILLE, Kan. – Tears of pain, as emotional scars from long ago are reopened. And tears of joy and relief after decades without true closure.
Bill Freemont Hobbs grew up in Pitcher, Oklahoma, Commerce, Oklahoma, Coffeyville, Kansas, and South Coffeyville, Oklahoma. In 1948, at the age of 18, he joined the Army, serving in the Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was sent to North Korea, and only two short years after enlisting the worst happened.
“While on a mission near Chosin Reservoir, he was driving a heavy mortar ammunition truck when he was bombed and the truck blew up, taking his life,” says Jeannie Harrington, Bill’s Niece.
Following the battle, Hobbs remains couldn’t be recovered. It wouldn’t be until decades later, following the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018, that 55 boxes containing American remains were released to the U.S. Hobbs’ remains were in the 50th. His brother Charles says after all that time, their hopes of finding him had worn thin.
“And up till 2, 3 years ago, we had given up hope,” says Charles Hobbs.
But now, he’s finally back in the four states. His Niece, Jeannie Harrington, spoke during the funeral service held under the Veteran’s Memorial Patio at Fairview Cemetery in Coffeyville, Kansas.
“A good soldier of Jesus Christ must also be focused. He must not be distracted by other things as he fights this spiritual war,” says Harrington. “Billy, who we honor today, had this same focus. He loved his family and his life, but he was willing to lay his feelings aside and to serve a greater good of his country.”
After being MIA for 68 years, his family can finally get the closure they’ve been waiting so long for.
“He was there because he figured it was his duty. But I’m glad he’s home. It’s been a long time coming,” says Charles. “You know, you kind of give up ever seeing again when they come by and tell ya that they’re gone. But, we know where he’s at now. And I can decorate his grave.”
Private First-Class Bill Hobb’s is laid to rest next to his mother at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Coffeyville, Kansas.
His name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for. More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
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