Remains of South Ga. Korean war soldier buried in Lake Park
WAYCROSS, Ga. (WALB) - The remains of a Korean War soldier have now been laid to rest in South Georgia after 72 years.
Dewey Rewis Jr. was just 18 years old when he was reported as missing in action (MIA). After finally being accounted for in 2022, his family can now finally be at peace.
“This is an 18-year-old who gave his life 72 years ago for his country,” U.S. Representative Buddy Carter said. “Think of all the things he missed out on. The joy of marriage, being a parent, being a grandparent. All of those things. And yet he gave his life for our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
Dewey was a member of Battery D, 15th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division. One year after going MIA, it was reported that Rewis had died a prisoner of war in an area of Korea called “Death Valley.” But, like thousands of other Korean War soldiers, his remains were unaccounted for.
“I was born in 1953, so I never met Dewey,” Dewey’s cousin Donna Hart said. “But his mom and dad were always in the home, we were always together. And that sadness was there from the first time I remember meeting them. We just saw the sadness, and they grieved until their dying day.”
Joe and Jamie Rewis, who are Dewey’s cousins, say their parents and other family members always stressed the importance of keeping in contact with the army in case Dewey’s remains were ever found.
And to their surprise, in April 2022, they were notified of just that. Joe and Jamie say they didn’t think this day would ever come.
“I mean, it’s been 70 years,” Joe said. “My dad was telling both of us, he would sit us both down and sit down and say ‘This is what I want you to do, this is what I need you to do in the event that this ever happens.’ I said ‘It’s been 70 years, they’re never going to find him.’”
“We didn’t expect it,” Jamie said.
“And then all of a sudden, here we are today still amazed,” Joe said.
Members of the Korean Veterans Association Southern Regional Chapter were also in attendance as Dewey was remembered on Saturday.
“It’s a great honor to attend this service because he gave a lot of effort and sacrifice for the Korean people and the Korean nation,” Conghee Choi said. “So we want to show our gratitude and condolences as well.”
The Rewis family said that they would encourage other families of lost soldiers to keep the faith that their loved ones are out there.
“Don’t give up,” Jamie said.
“Our casualty officer has told us that he’s doing quite a few of these,” Joe said. “Him alone, he’s done three of them in the last three months. So these notifications are going out very rapidly right now. And I know there was some recently that happened from May through here on the same line.”
Dewey Lewis was laid to rest in his hometown of Waycross next to his parents.
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