HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The remains of US Airman Marion Hooten Caudle of Sylacauga arrived at Huntsville International Airport at 1 p.m. Thursday, six decades after he died during the Korean War.
His nieces were at the airport to receive his remains, bringing closure to their family.
Jamie Aldridge of Muscle Shoals, Suzi Adams of Lafayette, Louisiana and Becky Elders of Huntsville are sisters and nieces of their “Uncle Sonny,” as he was known among family members.
Hooten Caudle died in 1952 when a plane that he and others members of the military were flying in crashed into a mountain in Alaska.
Due to the dangerous area where they crashed, the wreckage or remains of the 52 people on board could not be accessed until 2012. Hooten was one of 17 servicemen aboard the plane.
He will be buried Friday, October 24 at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Sylacauga. Here is more information in his obituary.
More information from the Department of Defense:
On Nov. 22, 1952, a C-124 Globemaster crashed while en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, with 11 crew members and 41 passengers on board. Adverse weather precluded immediate recovery attempts, officials said.
In late November and early December 1952, they added, search parties were unable to locate and recover any of the service members.
On June 9, 2012, an Alaska National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew spotted aircraft wreckage and debris during a training mission over the Colony Glacier, immediately west of Mount Gannett. Three days later, another Alaska Guard team landed at the site to photograph the area and found artifacts at the site that related to the wreckage of the C-124 Globemaster.
Later that month, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and Joint Task Force team conducted a recovery operation at the site and recommended that it continue to be monitored for possible future recovery operations. In 2013, additional artifacts were visible, and JPAC conducted further recovery operations.
Defense Department scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of 17 service members. The remaining personnel have yet to be recovered, officials said, and the crash site will continued to be monitored for possible future recovery.
The remains of the following service members have been recovered and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors:
Army Lt. Col. Lawrence S. Singleton; Army Pvts. James Green Jr. and Leonard A. Kittle; Marine Corps Maj. Earl J. Stearns; Navy Cmdr. Albert J. Seeboth; Air Force Cols. Noel E. Hoblit and Eugene Smith; Air Force Capt. Robert W. Turnbull; Air Force 1st Lts. Donald Sheda and William L. Turner; Air Force Tech. Sgt. Engolf W. Hagen; Air Force Staff Sgt. James H. Ray; Air Force Airman 1st Class Marion E. Hooten; Air Force Airmen 2nd Class Carroll R. Dyer, Thomas S. Lyons and Thomas C. Thigpen; and Air Force Airman 3rd Class Howard E. Martin.