Home, Corporal Alva Clifford Groves
Tuesday, 05 August 2014, I was honored to be a part of escorting Corporal
Alva Clifford Groves home to West Virginia. Cpl Groves died in captivity as a
POW during the Korean War in April 1951. His remains were turned over by the North
Koreans and were positively identified through DNA testing. The Patriot Guard
graciously allowed me to ride with their group to provide escort service for
the procession, starting at the Pittsburgh Airport and ending at the funeral
home in Shinnston WV.
Cpl Alva Clifford Groves 1932-1951
Died in captivity - North Korea
From WBOY news (Clarksburg WV)
VIDEO LINK FROM LOCAL NEWS (May take a minute to load)
After more than 60 years, a Korean War soldier who died as a prisoner of war,
has come home to Marion County. Alva Clifford Groves enlisted in the Army
when he was just 17 years old. It would be the last time he would ever be in
Marion County, that is until Tuesday.
It was a hero's welcome in Fairmont as a procession carrying the remains of
Corporal Alva Clifford Groves drove across the Gateway Connector from
Pittsburgh. For Groves' sister, Lillian Anderson, the journey home brought
back a flood of emotions.
"He wasn't quiet. He wasn't the quiet type. He didn't go in for sports,
but he was active. He enjoyed doing things, anything to keep himself active,
and he was good-hearted," said Anderson.
Anderson remembers it like it was yesterday: the day her big brother begged
their parents to let him enlist in the United States Army. "They weren't
really happy about it. They thought he was too young, but my mother was
willing to do it because he wanted it so badly. So he was 17 in May, and he went
in September, or that fall sometime," said Anderson.
Then a few short months later - the news that no family ever wants to hear.
Groves had gone missing in action after his unit was attacked in North Korea.
"You just live in hopes that everything will turn out okay," said
Anderson, "but that's when we got the notice that he had died in a
prison camp. The body hadn't been returned or anything, but you're just left
in limbo, don't know what to expect."
Years passed, then a breakthrough: positive identification of Groves' remains
from DNA the family had provided eight years ago.
"It's been 63 years. It was all unreal, and we never imagined the
remains would ever be returned."
With bittersweet raw emotion, then came a hero's welcome home that was long overdue.
Anderson says she's eternally grateful for those who lined the streets, as
the procession continued from the Gateway Connector down Route 19.
"It was amazing, that people were standing on the street that didn't
even know him, but they still wanted to show their respect for him,"
"I'm so thankful that our service department didn't just say, 'He's
gone' and forget about it. They were willing to go through all of this for
any of them that died or were killed in service. So it's good to know people
might still have some relatives," said Anderson.
Corporal Groves will be buried Thursday at the National Cemetery in Taylor
County with full military honors.
From KDKA (Pittsburgh PA)
VIDEO NEWS LINK FROM KDKA (May take a minute to load)
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Homecoming became a reality today for Army Cpl. Alva
Clifford Groves of Shinnston, West Virginia.
His remains arrived at Pittsburgh International Airport late Tuesday morning.
His body was met by his sole surviving sister, several other relatives and
members of the Patriot Guard Riders motorcycle club.
They escorted the body back to his hometown where funeral services will be
held this Thursday.
Groves joined the Army in 1950 after quitting school.
At first, he was reported MIA. It wasn’t until after the war that his family
learned that he died while in captivity.
His sister, Lillian Anderson, says it’s been difficult, but she’s glad her
brother has made it back home.
“It has been difficult when I think of greeting an 18-year-old when he should
be 82. It’s just hard,” said Anderson.
She added, “There were times when I never thought he’d never return.”
Sandra Buswink, Groves’ niece, provided the
military with a DNA sample eight years ago, which led to the positive
identification of his remains. A second DNA sample came from his sister.
“I walked next door to visit Aunt Lil and ask her if she would be available
to give blood, and she said yes, and I contacted the department of the Army
and they came out and took our blood,” said Buswink.
Both Buswink and Anderson were at the airport
Tuesday when Groves’ body arrived.
Asked if she remembered her uncle, Buswink said, “I
was only 6-months-old when my uncle joined the Army. I feel close to him
- 05 August 2014
from Pittsburgh PA Airport to Shinnston WV
Members of the West Virginia Patriot Guard and Pennsylvania Patriot Guard, as
well as other individuals, met near
the Pittsburgh Airport for a briefing and
general information before the escort began.
We then proceeded to the starting point at the exit of the airport.
and family stopped here to thank everyone for their support. Very nice
KDKA (the big Pittsburgh TV station) was on hand to document the events of
With police escort, we proceeded out of the airport and onto I-79 for the
trip to West Virginia. Surprisingly, since we were only going about 50-55mph
(well below the limit), almost nobody passed by us. Hopefully it was out of
respect, maybe it was all the police escorts with their lights flashing.
Anyhow, this is the group as they approached the WV border southbound on
I-79. The hearse and large black van with family members is visible in the
middle of the motorcycle escort.
Welcome home to West Virginia, Corporal Groves! Wish it could have been in a
63 years ago with you sitting proudly up in
the back of a convertible.
At the Fairmont WV exit, emergency crews and first responders were ready to
pay their respects to Cpl Groves.
As we waited for the procession at Fairmont to begin,
snapped a photo of my trusty Burgman 650 all
cleaned up for parade duty.
Another view of the welcome at Fairmont. Very nice turnout of first
responders and citizens to honor Cpl Groves.
As was the case with escorting Sgt Jerome Kiger
home (WWII airman who's remains were recently
discovered and identified at a crash site in Germany) last year, it was hard
not to shed tears of happiness as we did our small part in welcoming home
these veterans of days gone by. May the memory of their actions and
sacrifices never be forgotten.
- 07 August 2014
Groves laid to rest in National Cemetery, Pruntytown
not able to attend - this is the local news report)
FROM WBOY TV:
LINK TO NEWS VIDEO
It's been a long journey home for Corporal Alva Clifford Groves, the Korean
War POW whose remains were brought back to his home in Marion County last
Tuesday, but on Thursday, Groves was taken to his final resting place.
"Those guys were our heroes, the guys coming up now. They're our heroes,
they're what we wanted to be like. That's why we became soldiers," said
SFC Clint Bolyard of the West Virginia National
It was the final leg of Corporal Alva Clifford Groves' long journey home, 63
years in the making, as the procession with his remains arrived at the
"We're bringing our brothers home. I mean, really bringing them
home," said veteran Butch Mundell.
"Back here in our hills of West Virginia in a place where all of us will
end up one of these days," said veteran Bob Carr.
Among those in attendance was Tom Mathews, who also served in the Korean War.
Mathews was a prison of war during World War II in Germany for
"He has the right to the respect, as a POW, that the rest of us that we
get when we are laid to rest. I think he deserves it. It's just so sad it has
to be this late," said Mathews.
Groves was given full military honors, as the National Guard presented his
family with a flag. It was an overwhelming show of support for a true
American hero who never had the chance to come back home and live his life.
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