Several Memorial Day events are set to take place in Rio Grande City starting with a Memorial Day observance breakfast to be served at the Kelsey-Bass Musuem Events Center starting at 8:00 am, on Friday, May 24.
Following the breakfast, the city's annual "Remembering Our Fallen" Memorial Day observance will take place at the Britton Avenue Kiosk in downtown RGC, starting at 9:00 am. According event organizers, this year a special moment will be dedicated to the memory of Private First Class Herschel Mearl Riggs, who went missing from the Korean War in 1950.
Earlier this year, on March 21, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified the remains of PFC Riggs after thorough historical and scientific analysis. To identify Riggs’ remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis.
PFC Riggs entered the U.S. Army from Texas and served with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He went missing in action on July 16, 1950, during the Battle of Kum River, while attempting to break through an enemy roadblock, although the exact circumstances surrounding his loss are unknown.
PFC Riggs's body was recovered from the battlefield in October 1950, but they could not be identified and was eventually buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. In 2017, advances in forensic technology prompted the disinterment of these remains, which were eventually identified as those of PFC Riggs. He is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Today, 7,662 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams. Riggs’ name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with the others who are missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.