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Soldier Killed in Korea Returning Home to Superior

Updated: August 07, 2018 10:16 PM

Nearly 68 years after he was killed in battle, a Superior soldier is coming home.

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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is reporting that Army Sgt. 1st Class Rufus L. Ketchum will be buried next Tuesday.

The 38-year-old was killed during the Korean War. His unit in the Chosin Reservoir had been overrun by the Chinese. Ketchum was last seen administering morphine to a fallen comrade. He himself had his arm in a sling and had a chest wound.

The casualty officer assigned to Ketchum's family said, "He was a Distinguished Service Cross recipient, which is the second highest award in wartime for valor," explained Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Walworth.

The Army had declared him deceased as of December 6, 1950. But his remains hadn't been identified until this spring.

Dale Erickson was a 20-year-old Marine fighting in Korea at that time. He didn't know Ketchum, but feels connected. "It's an emotional thing, to bring him home. It's a good feeling to have him returned home, especially for the family. To be able to put it to rest."

Erickson is now the chairman of the B-Company Marines. 227 men left Duluth back in 1950, and served in Korea. 10 were killed in action. And according to their memorial on the Lakewalk, 80% were injured.

According to the POW/MIA Accounting Agency, a recovery team found the remains of at least seven individuals in North Korea back in 2001. Scientists used mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA analysis, anthropological analysis and other evidence to determine some of the remains were indeed Ketchum.

His daughter, Mary Edge, told us over the phone, "It's a miracle he's coming home. There's been lots of tears." 

Ketchum served in WWII as well, and fought in the Italian campaign. Korea was his second combat assignment.

The public is invited to pay their respects to Sgt. Ketchum at 1pm at Calvary Cemetery in Superior. It's located at 3424 Highway 105. There will be a full military burial.

"His daughter wants it to be more of a celebration," Walworth added.

Erickson added, "We are going to try and bring as many B-Company marines as possible to the burial. He was a hero."

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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