NORTH PATCHOGUE - The remains of a Long Islander who died in a Korean prisoner of war camp over six decades ago came home Monday morning.
Salutes and tears from military personnel and family members greeted the casket carrying the remains of Army Chief Warrant Officer Adolphus David Nava at LaGuardia Airport.
Nava was captured 65 years ago in the Korean War and died of pneumonia a few months later while in prison.
His remains were identified though DNA testing on boxes of remains turned over by North Korea in the 1990s.
For decades, photographs were all Nava’s family had to remember him by. His daughter, Mary Kolesar, of Patchogue, was only 4 when she and her sister Anne watched their father leave for the war.
“My mom had told us that he was going over to Korea and that there were people starving there and he was going over to help,” she said. “I remember walking out to the car, it was a car full of soldiers and my mom and I walked out to the car and she said, ‘Kiss daddy goodbye.’”
Kolesar said the years don't diminish the significance of his remains being returned. To her and the Nava family, those who fought in the Korean War are anything but forgotten.
Officer Nava will be buried with full military honors on Aug. 4 at Calverton National Cemetery.