The remains of Army Pfc. Roosevelt "Jack" Clark, a Korean War soldier reported missing in action more than six decades ago, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday morning with a military escort.
The remains of Clark -- he grew up in Arvin and played football at Bakersfield High School in the late 1940s -- were found in the 1990s and recently positively identified. The remains arrived in Los Angeles from Hawaii at about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Police and fire officials, and members of the USO Greater Los Angeles were at LAX as Clark's flag-covered coffin was transported to a hearse. Friends and family, including cousin Rennie Hunter, were at the airport.
Hunter was 7 when Clark left the family's ranch about 20 miles southeast of Bakersfield (map) and enlisted in the Army.
"This is just amazing," said Hunter. "You couldn't ask for anything any better. It just brought everything home. Everything was beautiful. All I could do was welcome him home."
His remains will be transported to his hometown in Kern County. A funeral service is scheduled for Friday in Bakersfield.
Few details regarding Clark's death are available. He was reported missing in action Nov. 28, 1950 as he fought with the 35th Infantry Regiment in North Korea.
The 18-year-old was presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953. His remains were among those recovered from North Korea in the 1990s and identified through DNA and other tests in November.
Hunter recalled the day her aunt, who died in 2001, received information that Clark (pictured, right) was missing in action and the letters of correspondence between Clark and the family during his time in the service.
"We listened to the news, and each holiday you'd say you have one that's missing in action," Hunter said. "But you don't ever put a closure to it because you don't know what happened.
"He was a giving person. He was a kind-hearted person. He loved kindness, just laughing and doing things that some of us wouldn't think of."
For example, she remembered the time the family Jeep's brakes failed. A house was in the path of the vehicle when Clark jumped out and began pushing the Jeep, Hunter said.
"He was going to play Superman," she said. "He started pushing on the Jeep and yelling, 'I have this, I have this.'"
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Clark's name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.