PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It was a day decades in the making, but on Wednesday the remains of a U.S. Army Private who died in combat during the Korean War, finally returned home.
Private First Class Daniel Hunt's family had been waiting for this day, for over six decades, and on Wednesday, Hunt, who was awarded three Purple Hearts, was remembered with an emotional ceremony at Sky Harbor Airport.
Hunt, who was 18 when he died, was killed in a fierce firefight in 1951. The coffin carrying Hunt's remains returned to Phoenix, on a Delta Airlines flight.
"From what I have been told, the Korean Government was looking for their own and discovered the bones, and returned them to Hawaii for testing," said family member Debra Gauthier.
Hunt was one of 17 children from a Michigan small town. Some of the relatives have relocated to Arizona. DNA from Hunt's remains matched samples given by two of his brothers, who had their DNA tested in 2003, according to Gauthier.
Besides Hunt's family, many people were on hand on Wednesday, including a military honor guard and first responders from Phoenix. Passengers onboard the plant recorded the event, on their mobile devices.
Family members were overcome by the show of appreciation from many people at the solemn ceremony.
"Oh I think it is fabulous, just fabulous," said family member Claire Kile. "It was a chance to show the world his dedication, and the dedication of the family."