North Korea Leadership Watch

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US Navy Ensign from Korean War to be Buried at Arlington on 12 July

The body of Korean War participant, US Navy ENS Robert Langwell, has been returned to the United States and will be buried on 12 July at Arlington National Cemetary.  ENS Langwell was one of 20 sailors to go missing after motor minesweeper USS Magpie (AMS-25) hit a floating mine on 1 October, 1950.  12 sailors survived when they were rescued by USS Magpie‘s sister ship USS Merganser.   In 2008, South Korean fishermen reported to the ROK Ministry of National Defense that they had buried the body of a US service member caught in their nets; the ministry located the burial site and recovered ENS Langwell’s body in 2009.

ENS Langwell’s aunt and 2nd cousin told an Indiana television station:

Langwell’s aunt, Mary Parker, remembers his broken-hearted mother.

“She died assuming he was still lost at sea,” remembers Parker. “So she never ever really knew what happened and that was the sad part of is because she was his only child.”

“They asked us what we wanted to do about a funeral and we debated that for awhile,” says Showalter. “He was born in Columbus, lived in Indianapolis, his parents had moved to Arizona. We just felt the burial in Arlington would be such an honor especially given the special circumstances.”

Navy Ensign Robert Langwell will finally rest at Arlington National Cemetery July 12. Nine members of his family will be there at his side.

“I think it’s just amazing that the government does this, that they devote so much energy and cost to finding these people and finding their family and doing the right thing, giving them a proper burial even if it’s 60 years later,” says Showalter.

1.) USS Magpie‘s entry in the USN’s online edition of the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

2.) Korean War Educator has an online version of USS Magpie‘s casualty list and action report including two photographs of the ship.


This article was written on 05 Jul 2010, and is filled under DPRK-US Relations, Inter-Korean Relations, Korean People's Army (KPA).

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