ELTON, OH, U.S.A.
SGT, CO D, 89TH MEDIUM TANK BN, 25TH INF DIV
02/14/1951, HOFONG POW CAMP
SEPTEMBER 23, 2019
SGT Vernon R. Judd was born on August 2, 1928 in Elton (near Navarre, OH) to Emanuel and Mary (Everett) Judd. He enlisted in the Army on January 11, 1948, and did his basic training as a rifleman at Fort Jackson, SC.
In May of 1948, SGT Judd was sent to Korea where he trained with an engineering battalion. The following November, he was transferred to Japan. He returned to Korea in August of 1950, and was assigned to Company D, 89th Medium Tank Battalion, 25th Infantry Division as an armored vehicle crewman (tanker). He went missing in action on November 28, 1950.
SGT Judd was captured by Chinese Communist Forces near Ipsok, North Korea and was marched to the Hofong Prisoner of War camp (also known as Pukchin-Tarigol) where he later died on February 14, 1951. His enlistment would have been completed on January 11, 1951.
The remains of Korean War POW U.S. Army SGT Vernon R. Judd returned home to Stark County nearly 70 years after he died for burial. SGT Vernon R. Judd’s remains were flown through Atlanta, after starting the long journey home to Northeast Ohio from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory in Hawaii.
A fellow American POW who returned home alive reported that Judd died on February 14, 1951, at Hofong Prisoner of War camp, also known as Pukchin-Tarigol.
It was during a transfer in Atlanta that Clevelander Nicole Feriani Orwig found herself on SGT Judd’s final ride. A cart used to transport SGT Judd’s remains onto a plane in Atlanta on Sunday heading to Cleveland read, “All gave some, some gave all,” featuring emblems of the branches of the US military.
Nicole Feriani Orwig explained, “It was one of the most moving, touching and incredible experiences to witness a hero finally being returned home.”
“It was such an honor to be chosen to be on this hero’s last and final ride home after so many decades. He gave his whole life, and for that, we could never thank him enough. This was a reminder of just how much our men and women in the military sacrifice.”
A short ceremony was held as SGT Judd’s remains were taken off the plane once it landed in Cleveland, greeted by service members and surviving family.
“Seeing his family waiting for his arrival as the plane taxied to the gate was truly emotional,” Feriani Orwig said.
“All the passengers on the plane were completely silent as we arrived and watched the ceremony from above. No one wanted to deplane until SGT Judd’s remains received an appropriate and respectful sendoff. I will probably never witness anything like it again.”
Feriani Orwig added: “I hope his family truly finds peace from within now that their soldier, their brother, and our hero, has been returned home to rest peacefully.”