SYLACAUGA, AL (WBRC) - A Korean War veteran was finally laid to rest in Sylacauga decades after his death.
Four days after his 23rd birthday, Airman First Class Marion Hooton died on a glacier near Anchorage, Alaska.
It took nearly 62 years, but on Friday afternoon, the Korean War Veteran was brought home to Sylacauga, Alabama.
Nearly 100 people turned out for the graveside service that included full military honors.
Becky Elders sat as the oldest living relative of Hooton. Her uncle had seen her once when she was 6 months old. Three months later, he was killed.
"We always knew him as Uncle Sonny," she said. "And that's not his given name and the reason was because he had a real sunny disposition."
During the Korean War, Hooton was stationed at a base in Tacoma, Washington but he routinely flew to a base in Anchorage.
On November 22, 1952 Hooton and 51 other crew and service members were on board a C-124 Globemaster plane when it hit the peak of a mountain and landed on Colony Glacier.
"And these glaciers move so the next spring when they went to recover the bodies they couldn't find the wreckage because of the snow that winter and the glacier moved," explained fellow Airman Troy Green.
It wasn't until 60 years later that a National Guard crew fling a training mission spotted the remains. A short time later, Elders was contacted.
"Oh gosh, I was in shock," she recalls. "It was like this is too long of a time span how in the world did this happen?"
Out of the 52 people on board, only 17 have been identified.
Tonya Anderson's grandfather, Isaac Anderson, Sr., was on that plane with Hooton. But his remains haven't been identified yet. Still, she drove from Florida to attend Hooton's services.
"It gives us hope, gives us hope when they do the next set of identifications he'll be coming home," Anderson explained after the service.
Since 2001 she's been pushing to bring all the victims home. She feels joy for Becky Elder's family today.
"I'm sure they're having a reunion up in Heaven just like we're having a reunion down here and I'm sure they're joining us in spirit," Elders said.