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Family seeks official POW designation for deceased veteran

Korean War veteran Jose Aguilar told stories about being captured. Now, his family wants closure.
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Posted at 4:28 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 00:07:50-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Every moment he can spare, Arthur Aguilar spends it at his father Jose's gravesite at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery.

Jose, a Korean War veteran, died nine years ago.

"He was a good man … a good dad," said Arthur.

While Jose served in combat, Arthur says he spent a number of days in enemy captivity.

"He said the conditions were really bad," Arthur said, recalling a conversation with his father. "They didn't feed him. He came back real, real malnourished."

Jose also returned home and was never officially recognized as a prisoner of war.

"He had stories," said Arthur. "He had pictures, but it's the dates (of his captivity) we don't know."

For years, Jose made numerous unsuccessful attempts, calling elected officials to get those dates correct to be officially declared a prisoner of war.

We spoke to Jose's widow, Carmen, in December 2021, who continued to fight for her late husband.

"They (military officials) would just say they couldn't do anything about it because they didn't have any proof that he was a POW," she said.

"She made it almost her lifelong priority," said Arthur. "She was trying to carry on his legacy."

Time eventually ran out on Carmen. She died recently without any closure on her late husband's status.

In the meantime, Arthur holds out hope that his father will eventually be recognized as a POW.

"All we can do is honor him and see what happens," said Arthur.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Friday.

A local ceremony will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Sherrill Veterans Memorial Park.

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