BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – On July 11, 1950,19-year-old, Cpl. Paul W. Wilkins was reported missing in action while his unit was battled Korean forces near Choch’iwan, South Korea.
Unaccounted for 70 years, the Blair county Korean war veteran killed while serving our country is finally home.
His remains laid unidentified in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii were identified in October 2020, by the “Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, through dental,anthropological and DNA analysis.
On Saturday, Cpl. Wilkins was laid to rest.
“No I never gave up,” Craig Wilkins, the son of Paul’s brother, Walter said, when asked if he ever gave up hope that they would identify his uncle. “And I don’t know that my dad ever truly gave up, he was just very skeptical.”
Wilkins remains were flown to Pittsburgh, and escorted to his hometown of Bellwood by military veterans from around the region.
Family and friends were joined by members of the community, and the Honor Guard at the Logan Valley Cemetery.
Paul’s brother, Walter Wilkins, had the honor to receive the flag as next-of-kin. At 86 years old, he is the last remaining of three brothers, both died in the Korean War. Walter was just 15 when his brother Paul was killed. The weight of wondering what could have truly happened to his brothers all these years, finally lifted off his shoulders.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to change what little time he may have,” Christopher Wilkins, Walter’s middle son said. “He’s 86 right now, hopefully, he’ll be around a little longer, but at least it will give him a little more solidity to his life.”
Years of prayers finally answered, as Cpl. Paul Wilkins was laid to rest alongside his family.
“The lord was listening to my prayers. To sum it up like that. He answered all of our prayers, Craig Wilkins said.”