Korean War POW from Bingham County to be laid to rest

The remains of Richard Cushman, who died as a prisoner of war during the Korean War, will finally be put to rest in the U.S.

The remains of Richard Cushman, who died as a prisoner of war during the Korean War, will finally be put to rest in the U.S.

By Josh Friesen, For the Journal

A Bingham County man who died as a prisoner of war 66 years ago will finally be properly laid to rest on American soil.

Army Sgt. 1st. Class Richard G. Cushman will be buried Nov. 11 in Cypress, California.

Cushman was born in Moreland on Feb. 29, 1932. He enlisted on May 13, 1949. A recipient of the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal and United Nations Korean medal, Cushman was assigned to Company A, 72nd Medium Tank Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division on the western side of the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War.

According to an account released by the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Cushman’s division encountered waves of attacks by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces in November 1950. Cushman’s division was forced to withdraw to the village of Kunu-ri. While there, a force consisting of Cushman’s company and an infantry platoon were ordered to destroy a road block and eliminate enemy troops. Cushman’s unit was overwhelmed during the mission, and by the end of the battle, Cushman could not be accounted for. After the war, two returning American prisoners indicated that Cushman had died while being held prisoner by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces.

“The story that I have heard is that he made a pact with some of his other comrades,” said Kathryn Cushman, Cushman’s sister-in-law. “And that if any of them did get out that they would go to the family. And one of the kids did get out, and he did go and speak to (Richard’s) parents and told them what had happened and how he had died. … He basically starved to death. He got a stomach infection and couldn’t eat. I don’t know any other information on his time as a POW.”

In July and August of 2002, a joint recovery operation conducted by the U.S. and the Korean People’s Army excavated possible human remains, personal effects and material evidence from a site in Ung Bong Village, North Korea. Everything recovered was sent to a DPAA laboratory for processing.

Cushman’s remains were identified by matching mitochondrial DNA to those from a cousin and niece of Cushman’s. Anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence matched his records.