Acadiana Family of Korean POW get chance for closure after US, North Korea deal

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 12, 2018

The agreement between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un– could have an impact for families right here in Acadiana.

During last night’s historic summit, the president and Kim agreed to recover and return the remains of prisoners of war, and other service members, who were declared MIA during the Korean War.

According to the Department of Defense, there are more than 7,600 American personnel still unaccounted for.

Among them, dozens of service members from right here in Acadiana.

"My uncle was Percy Allemand. He was in the Second Infantry Division and he was captured by the Chinese on February 12, 1951. And he was put in a prison camp known as Suan Bean Camp," said the nephew of Cpl. Allemand, also named Percy Allemand.

He was born three years after his uncle was captured and killed in North Korea.

"You know, I really don’t know that much about him, but I do carry his name so that’s a big deal. Once I found out what it meant and who I was named after, I kind of wear it as a badge of honor now," said Allemand.

His uncle was held as a prisoner of war and died at the age of 25 due to malnutrition.

"I remember my dad telling me that when he was leaving he told my dad that he wasn’t coming back. It’s horrible that these guys had to go through that," Allemand says as he started to tear up. "You know I really don’t know much about him, but the conditions over there were terrible. It was cold."

Allemand has heard countless stories of the man he was named after. He even carries his uncle’s pocket watch in his memory.

But perhaps his most notable keepsake is a  letter written in 1950 from his uncle to his family back home in Acadiana.

"It’s his actual handwriting and God knows what he was feeling when he was writing this," he said looking at the letter, tattered by caring hands.

Part of the letter, written in pencil, reads, "They suffered a lot of casualties while they’ve been here…I hope this struggle ends soon but it seems like it’s getting worse everyday."

The soldier signed, "P.S. Tell Everybody at home hello for me." That hello would every be conveyed through those silver, hand-written letters.

He is one of thousands of American soldiers captured during that time in the Korean War.

And though 67 years separate these two who share the same name, Allemand still hopes to bring home his hero.

"Hopefully they’ll find him. There’s like 7, 000 or so that are still missing. Hopefully all these families will get closure also. I mean it would be awesome just to get him home, for somebody to say ‘this is Percy Allemand your uncle, he’s finally home,’" said Allemand.

About 20 families in Acadiana are waiting for their loved one’s remains to return home. Scroll below to see some of those soldiers who died as POW’s and where they are from.