June 3, 2015

A true American

Family of missing Korean War soldier presented military medals

By STU MERRY

It was a bittersweet day for the family of Cpl. Elmer Bear this past Saturday at the Ralph Wells Memorial Complex in White Shield.

More than 60 years after being declared missing in action by the U.S. Department of Defense, Bear, who served in the Korean War, was finally honored for his military service.

Bear’s family was presented his Purple Heart and additional military awards during the ceremony. It is thought, with the presentation, Bear is the most decorated White Shield veteran.

"This is a long time in coming," said Bernadette White Bear, Post commander.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, joined the family during the awards presentation, which followed the memorial ceremony at the Old Scouts Cemetery, four miles west of White Shield.

"We don’t know the circumstances of Cpl. Bear’s death, but we do know that he is a true warrior," he said. "And we know that his family was proud of him and what he did, serving his nation."

Bear is survived by his siblings, Loretta Meridith, Roberta Bear, Robert Bear Jr. and Grayden Bear. At the time he went missing, Bear was married and had one child, both of whom now are deceased. His parents, Robert and Dora are also deceased.

Meridith said her brother, who joined the military at age 17, convincing his mother to sign for him, was a true American.

"This was his country," she said.

Bear was born June 13, 1927, in Elbowoods, which now is covered by Lake Sakakawea. He served during World War II as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

Sharing Bear’s background, Meridith said her brother was injured and was offered a medical discharge. It’s not what he desired.


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