Corporal Robert Charles Agard
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A Soldier Returns to Home and Family - After 73 Years

Written by: Dene Kimball

My cousin, Robert Charles Agard, was born in 1930, preceding me by 6 years. He was an only child of Robert & Gertrude Agard, my aunt and uncle. Our family was very close and we saw a great deal of each other as we grew up. 


Bobby, being six years older, was as a big brother to me. We shared many family gatherings, mostly centered on Sunday meals, as “Gramma” Beard was a marvelous cook. I can still taste the roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding (“Popovers”).


Our grandfather, “Daddy B,” had been a British sailor at the turn of the century (1900) and he shared seagoing tales with us children. These gatherings generally involved 15 people, as my mother’s 3 sisters and their husbands and children were usually present. 


Bobby’s parents moved to Buffalo, NY where his dad managed a large hotel. They managed monthly trips to Elmira, NY to join the Sunday feasts and family. It was an idyllic time for a very close-knit family.


When Bobby turned 18, he joined the U.S. Army. He served as an Infantryman, a member of the 24th Reconnaissance Company, 24th Infantry division. Bobby attained the rank of Corporal. 


In Spring 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and Bobby’s unit was ordered overseas, to stem the invasion, and was led by General MacArthur. On 19 July 1950, Bobby and 9 other soldiers went missing in action (MIA). His unit had been ordered on a Taejon Reconnaissance Mission, and was ambushed near Taejon, South Korea. As the mission was at night, no bodies could be recovered until daylight and it was thought that local farmers, witnessing the battle, had taken and buried the men before North Koreans could find them. 


Ultimately the bodies were found and all but one were identified. This one set of remains was identified as “X-311 Taejon”, and sent to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. 


I sadly remember the news when my family was advised that Bobby was MIA. The family was destroyed, especially Bobby’s parents, as he was an only child. I can picture the Gold Star emblem hanging on the front door of my Grandparents house, signifying the loss of a soldier in this house. 


I was 14, and a few weeks after the awful news, I was attending a Confirmation class at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Elmira, Father Hubbard conducting the class, when my Aunt & Uncle came into the church, sat next to me in the pew, and proceeded to break down weeping and crying. Father Hubbard had no choice but to request they leave, and I have to explain the sadness to my friends in the class. Hopefully, Father Hubbard was able to subsequently counsel my Aunt & Uncle. 


Jump ahead in time to June 2019. Two of my cousins had been asked to submit DNA swabs to the Department of Defense (DOD). Last October 2021, I received a phone call from Ft. Knox, KY - telling me that Bobby’s remains had been found and identified through DNA and mitochondrial DNA testing. As the oldest surviving member of Cpl. Robert C. Agard I have become the main go-between for my family and the Army. 


I have subsequently received a ¾” thick brochure detailing Bobby’s military history, copies of the many letters between the Army and my Aunt and Uncle (one can imagine the pain these letters caused for the parents of any MIA Trooper) plus detailed maps of the ambush & battle outside Taejon, photos and documents of the remains, and the awards given my cousin.


One month ago, we had a 3 hour Zoom conference with a DOD colonel in Ft. Knox, plus an active duty 1st Sergeant sitting beside us (my wife &  I and one cousin from Ithaca, N.Y.). We viewed the brochure page by page, and the main point of this story is that: 


The US Armed Forces, The D.O.D., and our country NEVER GAVE UP!!

I’m very proud to be an American Citizen and a Veteran (1st Lt, Infantry, 8 years Reserve Duty”) and we ALL should be proud of this country of ours. 


The story is not over. Bobby’s remains will be shipped to Elmira, N.Y. and he will be buried next to his Mother, my parents, our Grandparents, and several cousins. The ceremony will be full military, with color guard, Taps, flag, and 21 gun salute - held on Memorial Weekend, 2022.


Welcome Home, Cpl. Robert C. Agard!! God bless our country and the fact that it NEVER GAVE UP!!


Cpl. Robert C. Agard Rewards: 


Purple Heart

Good Conduct, Army

United Nations Service

National Defense Service

Korean Service w/ a Bronze

Korean War Service Medal