NewsLocal News


74 years later, slain WWII Marine's remains returned to family

Posted at 4:19 PM, Dec 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-08 19:28:12-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The remains of a Marine who was killed during World War II were returned to his family.

Private First Class Sam John Kourkos was flown to KCI on Friday after his remains were identified, and his family was notified.

Teddy Kourkos is Sam Kourkos' baby brother. He was born the year after Sam was killed.

"I was born in 1944 in October. He was killed in November of 43. I was a replacement for him. I grew up being told that," said Teddy Kourkos.

The Department of Defense notified Teddy Kourkos that one of the "unknown soldiers" at the National Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii had been identified as his brother. He and other family members greeted Sam Kourkos Friday afternoon on KCI's airfield.

Richard Hanks with Potts Chapel, out of Independence, Kansas, helped organize the homecoming.

"We've been working on it for over a week. It's always a humbling experience. You serve every family the best you can, but you can't help but have a little extra pride when you're burying and bringing home a soldier," said Hanks.

The family has placed a memorial for Sam Kourkos near his parents' burial in Independence. He will be laid to rest on December 9, 2017.