Remains of soldier killed in Korean War 72 years ago to be buried in Urbana

Army Cpl. Charles Eugene Hiltibran

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Army Cpl. Charles Eugene Hiltibran

Charles Eugene Hiltibran was 19 when he was killed in the Korean War during a battle near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.

The remains of the Army corporal, who grew up in Cable, a small town outside Urbana, were not directly recovered following the 17-day battle in 1950 that involved heavy artillery.

But thanks to painstaking DNA analysis, Hiltibran was identified through human remains turned over to the United States in 2018 by the North Korea government and he will be interred on Memorial Day weekend in Champaign County.

Hiltibran, a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, is the second soldier from this area to be identified recently by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii.

U.S. Army Pfc. Chauncey (William) J. Sharp, of Osborn — one of two villages that formed Fairborn in 1950, with Fairfield, was identified and his remains will be interred Saturday at Dayton National Cemetery.

More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

In July 2018, North Korea turned over 55 boxes they said contained the remains of American service members killed during the Korean War. The remains arrived days later at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for identification, according to a release from the DPAA.

Hiltibran was accounted for by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency April 20, 2020 after his remains were identified using circumstantial evidence, as well as, anthropological and mitochondrial DNA analysis, the DPPA said.

Hiltibran’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others who are still missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, the DPAA said.

Hiltibran will be laid to rest on May 28 at Oak Dale Cemetery in Champaign County. Funeral services will be performed by Walter and Lewis Funeral Home in Urbana at 10 a.m. at Brownridge Hall, home of Urbana’s post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The service will include the passing of awards along to living relatives of Hiltibran in his honor.

“We want to do as much as we can,” said local VFW Spriggs-Wing Post quartermaster Fred Williams.

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Burial at Oak Dale Cemetery will follow the funeral, according to funeral director Cassie Wheeler. Visitation for the Champaign County man will be held the day before from 4-7 p.m. at the funeral home.

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