Korean War soldier laid to rest in Tucson after more than 70 years

KOLD News 5:30-6 p.m. Saturdays recurring
Published: Sep. 3, 2022 at 6:11 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Korean War hero has returned home to Arizona and was laid to rest more than 70 years after paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Private Felix M. Yanez was 19 years old when he was killed in 1950. For some time, his remains were not recovered, and they weren’t identified until this year.

At South Lawn Cemetery Saturay morning, Yanez’s family and friends came together to honor him.

″I’m not saying I don’t feel sad, but I feel very happy because I know that’s what my mom wanted, but she didn’t get to see it,” said Connie Cintron, Yanez’s sister.

″I’m very happy they finally found my brother and he will be buried here in Tucson and I am very thankful for all that,” said Lupe Salazar, Yanez’s other sister.

It was a moment the family waited a long time for after he was reported Killed in Action on July 16, 1950.

Salazar and Cintron were both young at the time he enlisted. On Saturday, they were able to see him finally laid to rest.

Yanez’s family said he joined the army on a dare and got assigned to Headquarters Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

Though he’s gone, his legacy and bravery live on.

Susan Kee is a daughter of survivors of the Korean War. She spoke at Yanez’s funeral offering her condolences and thanking the family for Yanez’s sacrifice.

″It is because of brave Americans like him that my parents survived the Korean War and I could be born after the war to a free and prosperous South Korea,” she said.

Yanez’s legacy brought a room full of people together, just further showing how many lives he touched.

″You think that he’s so young and he didn’t live life, but in his short life, I like to think that he was loved and he loved,” said Tammi Shreeve, Yanez’s niece.

Shreeve spent the last decade trying to get answers about what happened to her uncle and trying to bring him home. Now that her mission is complete, she hopes it will inspire others who have lost their loved ones to never give up hope.

″It kind of keeps the light on for them.,” she said. “Don’t forget your loved ones that lost their lives. I never knew him, but I’ll never forget him. he’ll always be in my heart until I die.”

Veteran’s Park in Felix’s hometown of Douglas will be dedicated to him. That event will be on Veterans Day and Yanez’s name will be among four other veterans on a plaque at the park.