COLUMN: A Confederate Yankee

Bill Mayers

Coming home

By Bill Mayers

Gerald Bernard Raeymacker will be coming home. He’s been missing since 1950. His remains were identified Aug. 9, 2019. He was a sergeant in the 57th Field Artillery Battalion, Provisional Battery B, which featured the 105mm howitzer.

He went missing Dec. 6, 1950, during the battle at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, known to his fellow soldiers as the Frozen Chosin. He had enlisted in or near Dunkirk.

Sgt. Raemacker was a great uncle to my son-in-law Matt Briggs. His remains are to return, date yet to be determined, as is his eventual burial. Sixty-nine years. War is never quick and simple. Combatants are still being found, identified and returned home ages after the war is officially over, some more than others.

There have been combatants from America’s Civil War found recently, too; 154 years. Think about that. The results of such conflicts still impact families and countries.

No biggie? Yeah, unless it’s your relative or ancestor.

Some of you know my stepdaughter Brenda. Matt Briggs is her husband. It gives this old vet pause. I hope it helps, in some small way, to encourage others to advocate for peaceful resolution of conflict. True, there have been times when the nation was literally forced into armed combat. But let’s insist that should be a last resort. There are far too many “leaders” who’re overly eager for battle. They rarely grasp the implications of a declaration of war. To some, it is perceived as grand and glorious.
We veterans know better.

I await notification of dates and times of Sgt. Raeymacker’s services. If at all possible, I hope to be there to render honors to that hero.

Editor’s note: William Mayers of Sullivan is a retired senior U.S. Army Corpsman. A certified healthcare professional since 1964, he holds two professional licenses, including that of Registered Professional Nurse licensed in New York, Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana. He is the father of three and avid analyst of current events.

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