The Independence native who served with the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, in the Korean War was declared missing in action after heavy fighting near Unsan, North Korea, on Nov. 2, 1950. He was presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953.
In April, Boody’s remains were positively identified by the Department of Defense as a result of DNA testing. His remains were among the remains of six American soldiers that North Korean military leaders turned over to a delegation led by former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
"More than a half-century after Corporal Boody was reported missing in action while fighting for our country, he will finally receive a dignified burial next to his parents in Iowa," Richardson said following a private meeting in Des Moines with Boody’s relatives. "Cpl. Boody made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. I hope his relatives can get some closure after so many years of wondering what happened to their Uncle Clem."
Boody’s will be laid to rest in Independence on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and in honor of his sacrifice, Gov. Chet Culver has ordered all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday.
Richardson, a Democratic presidential candidate, has been working on the issue of retrieving remains of soldiers for several years. During the April meeting in Pyongyang, General Ri said Gov. Richardson's involvement was a factor in sending North Korean soldiers to the Unsan region during recent months to look for additional remains. The remains of one soldier had been found in October 2006, and Ri ordered 10 North Korean soldiers to the region to search for more remains, Ri told Gov. Richardson.
In addition to help bring Boody’s remains home to his surviving family, Richardson ensured that Boody’s family finally received the Purple Heart he was awarded 53 years ago. In 1954, the U.S. Army sent a letter to Boody's mother, informing her that her son had been awarded the medal and telling her it would arrive soon. But the medal never came, despite repeated efforts by family members to obtain it over the past 53 years, Boody’s niece Stacey Brewer said at a private ceremony in Des Moines Nov. 5.
"My grandmother never gave up the hope that he would come home someday, because for her, the death was never final,” Brewer said at the ceremony attended by Richardson and 200 other guests in Des Moines. “She just couldn't get her arms around the fact that one of her kids didn't come home. There was no body. There was no goodbye."
In honor of Cpl. Clem Boody, the flag will fly half-staff at the Iowa State Capitol Tuesday, Dec. 4
Originally posted on "Iowa Independent"