Friday, August 16, 2019

Ed "Buster" Morrison: The Homecoming

Wed., August 14, 2019. U.S. Army Honor Guard carries the casket of Edward Marshall "Buster" Morrison to a hearse that will transport him to his final resting place in Ashland, Wisconsin.
After an almost 70 year wait, Ed "Buster" Morrison came home to Ashland, Wisconsin on August 14, 2019. As a 19-year-old on occupation duty in Japan, Buster was one of the first U.S. soldiers sent to Korea in July 1950. He deployed with the first platoon of Baker Company, First Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division.
Edward Marshall "Buster" Morrison, 1931-1950.

PVT Morrison was in the same unit as PVT Philip Hughes.  Their first battle - which would also be Buster's last - was at Pyongtaek on July 6.    

Richard C. White, an old Korean War veteran from California, knew Buster. In 1998, Richard left a brief memoir on  He recalled a trio of friends from their relatively care-free occupation duty in Japan.  "We were always together in Sasebo," Richard wrote about himself, Buster, and Billy Lee Barnett from West Virginia. Barnett and White were among the very few men originally deployed by the 34th Regiment to survive the war. 

We can now update Buster's story.  Richard White wrote that Buster was in the foxhole next to him on that hillside east of the road down which North Korean infantry and tanks advanced from Suwon toward Pyongtaek.  Buster "died fighting" and "never showed fear."  The overmatched 34th IR withdrew from the hill, leaving one dead and losing several to captivity by the North Koreans.

The Army retook the position in September 1950. Graves registration teams would recover bodies over the following months. Their discoveries included a mass grave, where remains were probably interred by civilians.  Many of these remains were comingled and unidentifiable.  The unidentified were buried as unknowns in the National Cemetery in Hawaii, known colloquially as the "Punchbowl."

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has since employed advanced forensic techniques to identify the unknown.  And so in April 2018, unknown X-900  was disinterred.  On May 31, 2019 - the traditional date for Memorial Day - X-900 was positively identified as PVT Edward Marshall "Buster" Morrison.

Buster's final interment was set for Saturday, August 17, 2019 at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Ashland.

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