BELGRADE (MTN)- A soldier made his final trip home, almost 70 years after he went missing.
The remains of Sgt. 1st Class Harold Haughland landed at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport on Thursday just after 4 pm.
“It was kind of a shock at first, but it feels good to finally be able to now bring him home,” said Clayton Haughland, nephew of Sgt. Haughland.
Harold was just 22 years old when he went missing in action in 1950.
But he made those years count, earning several prestigious military awards including a Purple Heart.
“They had found remains of him many years ago, but it took a long time to get through the channels to get him positively identified, I guess you could say,” said Bruce Haughland, nephew of Sgt. Haughland.
Neither of Sgt. Haughland’s nephews present at the arrival had ever met their uncle.
“I never knew him, well except for stories from my father, you know talking about the what they did when they were kids, you know growing up in Eastern Montana,” Bruce Haughland said.
Sgt. Haughland’s remains were met at the airport by family members and supporters from organizations including the American Legion Post 14 and Post 30, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12112, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 788, members of Marine Corps League from Bozeman and Idaho, and the Patriot Guard of Montana.
“What we do is support military and local first responders in times of need such as funerals and things like that. We get to honor those that have served and in this gentleman’s case, he gave his life for our country and for us,” said Morris McLees, Patriot Guard Riders Right Captain.
Although the Patriot Guard of Montana regularly attends military funerals, Sgt. Haughland’s was not a common occurrence.
“The interesting thing about this is the fact that this soldier has been MIA for so long and recently identified and we’re very very honored to be a part of this tonight,” McLees said.
Despite the seriousness of the arrival, feelings were mixed.
“I guess probably happy that he’s finally being repatriated and that we can honor the man because he was really a hero. So that’s our job, to honor Harold Haughland,” Clayton Haughland said. “We just appreciate all of these people that are here and it means a lot to the family that to recognize the sacrifice that Harold made for the country.”
A law enforcement and motorcycle procession followed the body down I-90, all the way to the funeral home.
The funeral will be provided by Dokken-Nelson Funeral Services at 10 a.m. It will be open to the public.
Lena Blietz – MTN News