ARLINGTON, Va. – He disappeared in November 1950, during the Korean War, near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Reports came in 1953 that he died of malnutrition and lack of medical care in December 1950 while in enemy captivity.
“He is at peace. He is at home with his true family,” Snock’s niece Kathleen Baker, 62, an accountant from Murrysville, Pa., said.
Nearly 20 family members gathered on a cloudy, humid day to lay Snock to rest. The 21-year-old from Apollo, Pa., served with his twin brother in the 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat team.
Both Snock and his brother, Army Sgt. John Snock, were wounded Nov. 30, 1950. John Snock went to find help for his brother, but when he returned Joseph Snock was gone.
John Snock died in 2007 before the remains of his brother were identified.
“I don’t think he ever recovered. He died not knowing,” Baker said. “He felt devastated that he came home and his brother didn’t.”
News of Snock’s death came in 1953 during Operation Big Switch. That’s when North Korea and other countries exchanged prisoners of war. Joseph Snock was not among them, and one of the former prisoners informed the Army of his death.
North Korea sent 208 boxes of human remains to the U.S. from 1990 to 1994. DNA testing and location-based evidence lead to the identification of Snock’s remains in December.
“It was relief for me in place of his parents and his brother,” Baker said. “I didn’t think I would cry because I didn’t know him, but I did.”
Baker knew of her uncles from their sister and her mother, Barbra Karp, who was not well enough to attend the service.
“The thing that stays in my head is that he used to get my uncle Johnny out of trouble in the military. Whatever uncle Johnny got into, uncle Joey would get him out of it,” Baker said.
The “solemnity” of the service stood out to Baker.
“It felt like the loss of every solider out there,” Baker said. “That is what I thought about, every military family.”
Reach reporter Sarah Fulton at [email protected] or 202-408-1492. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Download photos: Arlington-Snock.zip