Remains of Army sergeant killed in Korean War return home to Georgia

Family of the Sgt. are relieved to have him back after 70 years.

ATLANTA — Almost 70 years after he disappeared during the Korean War, an Army sergeant from Georgia is finally home.

Two of his brothers and more family members were at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to see their loved one home.

Channel 2's Lori Wilson was invited to the emotional homecoming for Army Sgt. Billy Joe Maxwell.

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The flag-draped casket arrived in the Delta cargo building – a moment a local family has been waiting for for decades.

Maxwell disappeared while fighting in Korea on Nov. 30, 1950.

"He actually went missing 14 months before I was born, but I've heard about him all my life," said Maxwell's niece, Barbara Lassiter.

For the Maxwell family, tears flowed for a fallen soldier, their hero, who gave the ultimate sacrifice decades ago.

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"Some gave some and some gave all. That is so true, and we still have soldiers that we need to bring home," Lassiter said.

On this week before Veterans Day, Maxwell's family wished more relatives were still around to share this special moment.

"We just wish this could have happened sooner when some of the close family members were still alive," Lassiter said.

The family said they were extremely grateful to the president who helped facilitate his return.

"Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you Donald Trump, we appreciate it so much," Lassiter said.

The family wants to encourage others who have missing family members to reach out to their local military branch office and find out how to provide a DNA sample.

Funeral services were held for Maxwell in Hoganville on Saturday.

Funeral Service | Sgt. Billy Joe Maxwell SGT Billy Joe Maxwell, of Hogansville, was killed in action near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on November 30, 1950. As American and United Nations troops pulled back during this battle and were never able to return to that area, SGT Maxwell was not recovered. However, in 2018 the North Koreans released the remains of a number of troops to American officials and in August of 2019, remains of SGT Maxwell were identified. SGT Maxwell was born August 24, 1931, in Gate City in Fulton County but lived in Hogansville most of his life before enlisting in the U.S. Army on November 16, 1949. During the Korean War, he served in Heavy Mortar Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was preceded in death by an infant brother, Ernest L. Maxwell and an infant sister, Patricia Ann Maxwell. At the time of his death, he was survived by his parents, James Noble Maxwell and Eula Mae Hale Maxwell; and his brothers and sisters, Henry J. Maxwell, Charles O. Maxwell, Marie Bishop, Betty Thompson, James H. Maxwell, and Jerry Maxwell. Since his death, his parents along with his brothers, Henry and Charles, and his sisters, Marie and Betty, have passed away and today, he is survived by his brothers, James H. (Pete) Maxwell of Hogansville, Jerry Maxwell and his wife Jan of Manchester, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Posted by City of Hogansville on Saturday, November 9, 2019