Army Major Harvey Storms, 34, left his pregnant wife and three sons to fight in the Korean War more than 70 years ago. The family would never see their father again.
On July 16, 2021, in front of his four sons, fellow Korean War Veterans and others, Storms was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Major Storms was one of the heroes of the fighting on the East Side of the Chosin Reservoir,” said Bill Woodier, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Research Analyst who worked the Missing-in-Action for Storms for more than two decades.
The Chosin Reservoir is a man-made lake located in the northeast of the Korean peninsula. From the end of November to mid-December 1950, it was the site of one of the most brutal battles between UN and Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) during the Korean War. For approximately seventeen days, roughly 30,000 U.N. soldiers and marines faced an enemy force estimated at around 120,000 over rugged terrain in lethally cold weather.
On the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 1950, enemy forces stormed the men of major’s unit and intense hand to hand combat began in weather thirty degrees below zero.
Storms, wounded and suffering from frostbite, led an attack up Hill 1221, where Chinese gun positions were firing down on the exposed convoy. Shot multiple times during the assault, the Texas native collapsed in the snow and began sliding down the ice-covered hill.
He must have had about ten or twelve bullet holes through his field jacket, said Chosin Reservoir Veteran Bill Rowland, who fought with Storms.
Over a thousand U.S. marines and soldiers were killed during the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. Many men were buried where they fell, and due to the cold weather and the retreat of UN Forces from the area, hundreds of fallen marines and soldiers were unable to be immediately recovered, including Storms.
The Korean War Armistice went into effect July 27, 1953, starting a ceasefire still in effect today.
“My main feeling was that I wish they [my younger brothers] could have known him,” said Sam Storms, who was nine when his father died. He added that all the boys were athletes like their dad, and it was difficult growing up without their him to cheer them on from the stands.
In 2018, the North Korean government returned 55 boxes of human remains to the United States, including one set of remains recovered from Sinhung-ri on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir. These remains were brought to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, where scientists used forensic tools including DNA comparisons to identify Storms' remains.
During the Korean Cold War government briefings hosted by DPAA in 2019, Woodier sat in on the official briefing given to the family of Major Storms.
“It was very moving,” Woodier said. “It gets emotional sometimes when you have been working cases and they come to conclusion.”
In total DPAA and its processors have been able to identify more than 200 service members from the Chosin Reservoir.
“Don’t give up,” Sam said when asked what he would say to families still waiting on the call. “I never expected it to happen.”
There are approximately 7,800 service members still unaccounted-for from the Korean War.