Remains of soldier returned to Oklahoma after more than 60 years

The remains of Sergeant First Class Alfred Bensinger Jr. arrive at Will Rogers World Airport.(KOKH/Shardaa Gray)

The remains of a soldier returned home to Oklahoma to be laid to rest after more than 60 years.

The remains of Sergeant First Class Alfred Bensinger Jr. were returned to Oklahoma City Feb. 14. Many were drawn to the window to watch his casket come out. As for his son, Gary Clayton, it was a tearful moment.

"To think that it wouldn't be a big deal to me, but it is major in my life," Clayton said.

Clayton said he barely knew his father growing up.

"I go through my life with someone I had always said had no meaning to me, because I never knew him, but as I progressed and got older, I realized that wasn't true," Clayton said.

Bensinger served in the Korean War as a member of Company D, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. After many days of fighting in the battle of Kunu-Ri, troops were ordered to withdraw. The 2nd Engineer Battalion held off the assault for other troops to safely evacuate.

Over 700 troops were killed or taken as Prisoners of War. On Dec. 1, 1950 he was reported as Missing In Action. Bensinger is reported to have died at a prisoner of war camp. His remains were identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in July 2017.

Bensinger was also a veteran of World War II, serving in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1946. He is survived by his son, Gary Clayton of El Reno, two grandchildren and his sister, Joyce o'Browning.

Bensinger received Planeside Honors from Fort Sill soldiers when he arrived at Will Rogers World Airport. He also received a full procession from the airport to Yukon, including the Patriot Guard Riders of Oklahoma.

As for Bensinger's son, he said this is a sense of closure.

"It's amazing you have love for somebody that you never really knew. I love my dad," Clayton said.

Bensinger will be interred at Fort Sill National Cemetery on Feb. 16.

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