Marine Laid To Rest 65 Years After Being Killed In Action
On Saturday, friends and family got to properly say goodbye to Sergeant McLaughlin, who was 19-years old when he was killed in the Korean war, 65 years ago.
Sergeant McLaughlin has been buried in Hawaii as an unknown since 1954.
But recently, military scientists were able to positively identify his remains, and it was time for Sergeant McLaughlin to come home.
For Lisa DeFilippo of Erie, who never met her Uncle Johnny, this day brings so much closure to the family, "We've always thought about him, and to get the call that he's been identified, and now he's back, and now he's here and we're next to his coffin... it's good," said DeFilippo.
Lisa's mother Angus Defilippo, now of Canadohta Lake, is Sgt. McLaughlin's only surviving sister, he was the youngest of 10. She says she's grateful to finally have him home.
Sergeant McLaughlin was killed during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir on December 7, 1950.
His best friend Regis Helch was by his side on the battlefield.
Helch returned home, and told Sgt. McLaughlin's family of his last heroic moments, "Regis said he was the most courageous guy he ever knew," said Joseph DeFilippo, McLaughlin's brother in law. "When the Chinese was overrunning, he said John stood up and he thought it was John Wayne there, and he held off the attack," DeFilippo added.
Regis Helch just recently passed away, but his son, Regis John Helch made sure he was there to say welcome home and goodbye, My father and John were in the service together, and actually my father was with John the night he got killed," Said Helch.
Sgt. McLaughlin was buried Saturday with full military honors, he was buried in his hometown of Pittsburgh, next to his brother.
A true American hero whose courageous story has been told for decades, and will continue to live on.