July 29, 2014

Hundreds gather to pay tribute to Korean War soldier

An Iowa soldier killed in Korea more than six decades ago was laid to rest in his home state Friday.

Sergeant First Class Edris Viers of Swan, Iowa, was reported missing in action in 1950. Viers and several other soldiers who died in “The Battle of Bloody Gulch” were buried in South Korea, but later the group of unidentified soldiers’ remains was transferred to a memorial in Hawaii. Last year the military conducted D.N.A. tests and identified Viers’ remains.

Jerry Viers of Swan was five years old when his uncle died.

“This is a personal ‘bucket list’ thing for me,” Jerry Viers said today. “It’s closure, I think, for the family.”

A memorial service was held in Pleasantville today, followed by a burial ceremony at Swan Cemetery.

“We’re a close-knit family and it seems like over the years that something’s been missing and something wasn’t right,” Viers said. “So we took it upon ourselves to do some research and, with the help of the Defense Department and the Army, we ‘got ‘er done.’ It’s a major closure. He’s had a Christian burial — next to his mother and father.”

The family has asked those who want to honor Viers with a memorial gift to contribute to the Korean War Project. It’s a group that helps identify the remains of Korean War era soldiers still listed as missing in action.