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June 23, 2014

Remains of Korean War veteran returning to Indiana

FRANKTON (AP) — Howard E. Martin was a young, sandy-haired airman flying on a transport plane to serve in Alaska during the Korean War.

On the night of Nov. 22, 1952, his C-124 Globemaster slammed into a 9,500-foot-high mountain about 50 miles east of Anchorage.

All 52 on board were killed.

Search crews were driven back by the harsh, remote frontier. They returned in the spring, but whatever might have been left of the plane was buried by snow and glacial ice.

The wreckage wasn’t uncovered until 2012.

So far, 17 of the men have been identified, including 11 Air Force members.

Martin’s remains are among those now coming home, The Herald Bulletin reports. He will buried July 12 with full military honors in Elwood City Cemetery. His grave will be next to his late parents, Lester and Ruth Martin.

One of his brothers, Paul, 81, lives nearby in Frankton.

He said, “Mom and dad both kept thinking that one of these days they’ll find him and bring him home, so she bought three cemetery plots rather than two.”

Howard Martin grew up on a small farm at Dundee, Ind., a tiny crossroads midway between Elwood and Alexandria.

As the oldest of seven children, his siblings looked to him for guidance, and for transportation, since he had a driver’s license.

A quiet boy, he played baseball and was vice president of his class at Frankton High School. After graduation in 1949, he took classes at Ball State Teachers College and worked at Delco Remy but, when faced with making the life decisions of a young man, he enlisted in the Air Force on Dec. 14, 1951.

After short stints in Montana and California, the 21-year-old was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, where he planned to work in the control tower. On the way, his transport smashed into a peak near the Mount Gannett complex.

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