William “Billy” McCollum was born on June 19, 1931 in Anderson, South Carolina to Hattie Jane McCollum and Lonnie Adolphus McCollum. In January of 1949, at seventeen years old, McCollum was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Corporal McCollum was transferred to the battlefield.
In November 1950, McCollum’s unit reached the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea and endured repeated attacks from the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces before withdrawing on December 1. After the unit regrouped, McCollum could not be located and was declared missing in action December 2, 1950. McCollum was presumed dead on December 31, 1953, with his family receiving an Army telegram. Following the war, the location of his body was unknown.
In the 2018 summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, fifty-five boxes of American remains were agreed to be returned to the United States. The boxes were believed to contain remains of soldiers killed during the 1950 Chosin Reservoir Battle.
On August 1, 2018, the remains arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory was able to identify McCollums remains on September 11, 2019.
After seventy-one years, McCollum returned home.
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Korean War - Key Events
December 6, 1950
The U.S. Marines at the Chosin Reservoir begin their “attack in a different direction” as they engage in a fighting retreat to the port of Hŭngnam. Two entire Chinese armies have been tasked with the destruction of the 1st Marine Division. They succeed in driving the American force from North Korean territory but pay an enormous price: as many as 80,000 Chinese troops are killed or wounded, and the CPVF Ninth Army Group is rendered combat-ineffective for months. “Frozen Chosin” becomes one of the most-storied episodes in U.S. Marine Corps history.
These events are taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica