MN soldier killed in Korean War will finally be laid to rest

Army Private First Class Charles Follese was killed during an ambush at just 20 years old. Last week, his remains were returned home.

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota soldier will be laid to rest on Tuesday after he was killed during the Korean War nearly 67 years ago.

U.S. Army Private First Class Charles C. Follese, 20, of Minneapolis was killed in North Korea in November 1950. Follese was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

While on a mission to recover casualties from a reconnaissance patrol that had been ambushed near Hajoyang-ni, North Korea, the subsequent patrol that included Follese was also ambushed.

Follese was declared killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950.

Decades later, nephew Michael Follese said the family was losing hope of recovering his remains.

"Like most people you think that you would see these stories about people getting recovered, the remains would be found, and most of my family all said, 'Maybe that will happen to us, someday.' Well, right before Christmas I get a phone call. The Army says, 'Mr. Follese, we have the remains of your uncle Charles,'" Michael Follese recalled.

According to the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), North Korea returned 208 boxes of human remains to the U.S. from 1990-1994. They contained the remains of at least 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. Some of the remains were recovered in the area where Follese was believed to have died.

Scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used DNA analysis to positively identify Follese's remains, which matched his family members. They also used dental and anthropological analysis which matched Follese's records.

When speaking of the advanced technology, Michael Follese said, "So what that really gives the families today is hope."

According to DPAA, there are still 7,740 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

"When you go through that kind of experience, you're like, you gotta be kidding me. All these years I thought we would never actually see that moment," Follese said.

Follese said that through the search he discovered his uncle was charismatic, musically talented and a prankster. He was one of 15 siblings.

The public is invited to attend Follese's funeral on July 25. Visitation will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a service, at White Funeral Home in Apple Valley. At 12:35 p.m. an interment ceremony will be held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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