Corporal Richard John Seadore will be put to rest on Friday after 66 years. He died in a Prisoner-of-War camp in North Korea in 1951 after enlisting in the army at 19 years of age. His younger brother Johnny also enlisted at age 17 and the plan was for them to stick together. Richard was removed from training after getting the measles but the two did see each other again during a battle. An injured Johnny was forced to return to the states and in December of 1950, Richard was declared AWOL and then MIA after a battle against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces north of Seoul, South Korea.
About a year later, the Army assumed Richard was a Prisoner of War but needed proof that he had died. Reports of released POWs informed other soldiers of death marches that consisted of below zero temperatures, disease, severe lack of food and water, and injury. An unnamed solider who was in the same POW camp as Richard in Suan County confirmed that he recalled Richard and confirmed his death.
North Korea sent back a couple hundred sets of remains to the U.S. during the 1990s and in 1997, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began using DNA to test remains in attempts to link bones to other family members.
Former Pastor Al Seadore of Callaway is Richard’s younger brother; there were 10 siblings total. Al, his mother, and another brother gave DNA samples in hopes a match would soon be made.
A positive ID was made on April 25, 2017. Richard’s sister Shirley Hitchcock was informed of the good news this spring by representatives of the Department of Army Casualty of Fort Knox, Ky., and the Casualty Assistance Center of Fort Riley, Kan. Janette Gray and Michael Hagen presented the investigation information and described how Richard’s remains were identified and what likely happened to him.
Shirely and Al were six and four when their older brothers Richard and Johnny went to Korea. They also had a brother Larry who was killed in Vietnam. Both siblings say they remember little of Richard other than his wired glasses and his red hair.
Last week, the remains arrived in Omaha and a procession was lead to Gibbon for a flag ceremony and cremation.
“At first it didn’t affect me that much and then when we got onto the tarmac in Omaha, and here comes that casket, it broke me. So I said to myself and I said to my sweetie [wife Lois] can you imagine having emotions hidden that long? For somebody you don’t remember. But they were family. And that’s what brings those emotions out,” Al Seadore said.
Since discovering the incredible news, the extended Seadore families have been extremely grateful for the support and patriotism of those learning their story.
“I am just so amazed by people’s response. I’m amazed by their caring and support. And I am amazed by the patriotism that people are showing. It’s just very humbling and we as a family really appreciate it,” Shirley Hitchcock said.
The American Legion has shown support for the family and will guide a processional to Long Pine on Friday, August 4. The processional will leave Callaway at 9am, passing through Broken Bow at 9:30, Westerville at 9:45, Sargent at 10:05, Taylor at 10:15, and Bassett at 11:20. From Bassett, departure for Long Pine will be at 12:15pm with graveside services with full military honors at the Grandview Cemetery at 2pm. All are invited to pay tribute to an American hero’s sacrifice for his family and his country.
This story was compiled thanks to the research and help of Mary Hollopeter (Wood Lake), Mike Wendorff with the Callaway Courier, Al Seadore, and Shirley Hitchcock