NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — A New Braunfels soldier who went missing in action during the Korean war in 1950 was honored by family and strangers throughout the community Tuesday.
More of Army Sgt. Gilberto Lopez Sanchez’s human remains were brought back to the family.
“January 1950, he was reported missing in action,” his brother Silvestre Lopez Sanchez said.
Silvestre said he still remembers the moment he found out his older brother was likely not coming home from war.
“It’s kind of of hard because there’s always hope but as time went by we figured, he’s not coming back,” Silvestre Lopez Sanchez said.
By 1953, the army confirmed Gilberto L. Sanchez was killed in action during the battle of Chosin Reservoir where he was serving as a war medic.
“He was two months into his 19th birthday,” Silvestre Lopez Sanchez said.
In the 1990’s, North Korea repatriated the remains of a number of U.S. service members. It would not be until 2014, when DNA testing confirmed some of those remains were Sanchez. The family held a funeral in 2015.
Richard Sanchez never met his uncle but joined the military in honor of him.
“We’re fortunate with DNA, with technology that we have now, we were able to bring him home,” Richard Sanchez said.
Recently, more remains have been identified. On Tuesday, the remains were flown to San Antonio. A procession then led the remains to a funeral home in New Braunfels.
Just as they did in 2015, the family said they are honoring their fallen hero with a proper funeral.
“He didn’t get to experience holding a son, a daughter, quinceañera, all that stuff,” Richard Sanchez said. “But he knew what he was doing was important for us to be able to experience all those things.”
A funeral mass is being held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church.
“He’s my hero,” Richard Sanchez said.
The remains of Gilberto L. Sanchez will be taken to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.