Horry County Soldier laid to rest after missing for 63 years

Master Sergeant Ernest Grainger laid to rest
Master Sgt. Ernest W. Grainger (Source: Goldfinch Funeral Home in Conway)
Master Sgt. Ernest W. Grainger (Source: Goldfinch Funeral Home in Conway)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - More than sixty years after a US soldier was killed in the Korean War, his body was laid to rest in his hometown of Conway.

Master Sergeant Ernest William Grainger was laid to rest at the Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery Saturday morning.

Family, friends, soldiers and veterans saluted the flag-draped casket as six soldiers carried Grainger to his final resting place.

He was buried with full military honors.

On Wednesday, The Goldfinch Funeral Home told WMBF News the body of Army Master Sergeant Ernest William Grainger was flown from Hawaii to Charleston's airport and then escorted back to Conway, the town where he grew up and his relatives still reside.

According to the Department of Defense's website listing missing personnel, Ernest Grainger served in Company K, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was 25 when he died.

Army personnel greeted his remains at the airport and provided an escort all the way to the funeral home in Conway. They were joined by American Legion Riders, Patriot Guard Riders, military veterans and chapters of Rolling Thunder, a national organization of veterans that work to honor POWs and MIAs.

In total there were about hundred motorcycles that joined the military and Grainger's family on his trip home.

Robert Spigner with the American Legion Riders is a Conway native. He participated in the ride with Sgt. Grainger's body, traveling from Columbia to do so. "To be able to bring one of these brothers home that's been gone for 63 years. And to be able to bring him back to his hometown is amazing, and it's a wonderful thing to be able to do."

Grainger's remains were just recently identified using a DNA sample his sister gave to the Army.

Jodi Mishoe, a great niece of Sgt. Grainger said she was brought up hearing stories of him and how nice of a man he was. She was also told he had a great fondness for children.

Ms. Mishoe says her great grandmother, Ernest Grainger's mother, never gave up hope that he was alive, and she carried that hope to her grave. A member of Rolling Thunder says Grainger's mother died at the age of 91 before ever learning that her son's remains had been found.

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