“Every place we would go that there was crowd, my mom was always looking for somebody,” said Roseann Stonestreet.
“That’s what she did her whole life; she just looked for my dad.”
Just before the start of the Korean War, Sgt. First Class Finley Davis and his Family were preparing for a big move. Davis asked that his wife, Violet and daughter, Roseann, —now Roseann Stonestreet — pack the house for relocation to Washington. Not long after packing began, he called again to say the move would not be happening.
Roseann was 12 when Davis deployed. She remembers the last thing they did together: a trip to see the movie “Flamingo Road,” starring Joan Crawford, and she remembers the walks he would take her on.
Davis, attached to Company D, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was sent to Korea.
As of Dec. 1, 1950, Davis was documented as missing in action.
He was presumed captured during a general withdrawal issued by Far East Command on Nov. 29, 1950. The order, issued in response to the Ch’ongch’on River battle, began the evening of Nov. 25, 1950.
2nd ECB, by circumstance, became the rear guard during the withdrawal. Continuous attacks by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Force cut the column of retreating troops into isolated groups and this was when Davis was captured.
In mid-January 1951, Davis moved to a prisoner of war camp at Pyoktong, Camp 5.
It is there he is believed to have perished from exhaustion, dysentery and malnutrition in April 1951.
He was posthumously promoted to master sergeant.
The repatriation of all casualties, their remains and POWs in 1954 was called Operation Glory. During it, the remains of more than 4,200 individuals, just under 2,000 of which were determined to be American. Davis’ remains were not found nor identified from the remains returned during Operation Glory and were determined unrecoverable in 1956.
In September 1954 a set of remains recovered from a POW camp cemetery near Pyoktong, Camp 5 were recovered but were unable to be identified.
In 2013 and 2014 these remains were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii and identified after analysis. The remains belonged to Davis.
“My great-grandmother — after he went over there, went missing and died — she never remarried after that,” said Spc. Zachary Boney, Davis’ great-grandson.
Boney is a horizontal construction engineer with the 161st Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade.
According to Boney, the identification was verified using Stonestreet’s DNA.
“It’s good to know that even after so many years they (the Army) are still out looking for people,” Boney said.
It’s a love story, according to Boney and his mom.
Boney, asked by Stonestreet to bring his great-grandfather home, explained that it was not just because of his uniform that grandma chose him — it’s his unique relationship with his grandmother.
“I hate to put it like this because of all my cousins and everything, but I have kind of always been her favorite,” said Boney with a smile.
Boney recently left Fort Bragg to travel to Hawaii to receive his great grandfather’s remains.
“(I feel) very honored to begin with, knowing my grandmother chose me. A little emotional because I know how much he meant to my grandmother,” Boney said.
Boney will fly back to Charleston, South Carolina, April 19 with the remains.
The only time he will be away from his great grandfather’s remains will be while on the plane.
Davis will be buried at Carolina Memorial Park, near his late wife.
“I know my mom would be so overjoyed she wouldn’t know what to do,” said Stonestreet.