ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local fallen Korean War hero was honored in Albany Tuesday morning. Sergeant Howard Belden was missing for over 70 years before he was positively identified last year, and will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery next month.
The Hague native went overseas to fight in the Korean War and was missing in action in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the winter of 1950.
“He was a family person, grew up during the Depression, fought back against the poverty of the Depression, but at 17, he decided to answer a higher calling,” said Tom Mullins, the event organizer and veterans advocate for the Rev. Francis A. Kelley Society.
M.I.A. in 1950, Belden was presumed dead in 1953. Nearly 65 years later, remains were recovered in North Korea in July of 2018. Over three years after that, the local hero was positively identified last October.
“Early in the year, we had a Korean veteran say to us at another event that no American solider should ever be buried on foreign soil, they should all come home to be buried here. In essence, this is not only coming back, this is a missing man coming home,” said Mullins.
Tuesday’s ceremony is one of two local efforts to honor Belden before he’s buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, bringing remembrance to a hero who fought in what’s dubbed “the Forgotten War”.
“We don’t want people to forget. We want people to remember what these veterans fought and died for,” Mullins said.
This Friday, members of Belden’s family will join Korean War veterans in his hometown of Hague for another ceremony, “It’ll be a similar ceremony, but we’ll actually be giving out the many awards that he’ll be given that night. It’s going to be really special,” the organizer explained.
Belden was just 19-years-old when he was killed in action at Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.
He’s one of three local Korean War heroes who have recently been returned home, many decades after the fighting concluded on the Korean Peninsula.