BURLINGTON, Vt. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders recognized the honorable military service of Corporal George Albert Perreault Jr., a Korean War veteran from Vermont whose remains were brought home Wednesday, May 10. Sanders also praised the work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency for helping reunite a Vermont family after more than six decades separated by war.
Following a Mass of Christian Burial, Perreault will be laid to rest next to his family at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Winooski.
Born in Winooski in April 1930 and raised in Burlington, Perreault enlisted in the United States Army after graduating from Burlington High School. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was supporting a regiment of the Republic of Korea Army in the area known as the Central Corridor in South Korea, according to the Defense Department. Tragically, Perreault was reported missing in 1951 after the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces launched a massive attack against the regiment at Changbong-ni. Based on a lack of information on his status, the U.S. Army declared Perreault deceased in 1954.
By using family DNA and anthropological analysis, the POW/MIA Accounting Agency at the Defense Department identified Perreault’s remains in December 2016.
Perreault’s family contacted Sanders’ office in late February, after learning the Vermont soldier’s remains could not be flown into Burlington International Airport due to airline and airport limitations. Sanders’ office worked with the airport’s director and operations staff, Delta Air Lines, the Vermont Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Casualty Assistance Center to obtain the proper authorization, which allowed a dozen family members to participate in Wednesday evening’s plane side military honors at Burlington International Airport.
“Corporal Perreault gave his life for his country. That will never be forgotten. I have long believed that we have a responsibility to families like Corporal Perreault’s to account for those missing in action from all conflicts. I commend the POW/MIA Accounting Agency for their tireless efforts to locate and identify the remains of Corporal Perreault, more than six decades after he first went missing.” Sanders said. “I am pleased, at long last, this Vermont hero will be buried in Winooski next to his parents.”
“Corporal George Perreault has returned home to Vermont and is now with his family. The Vermont National Guard is honored to have participated in the arrival ceremony and the planned interment of this American hero,” said Major General Steven A. Cray, adjutant general of Vermont’s National Guard.
The important work to identify the remains of our soldiers continues: 7,751 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, according to the POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.