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Update: Remains of Willmar soldier MIA in Korean War identified

WILLMAR -- Army Master Sgt. Carl H. Lindquist fought in World War II and survived the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he went back to being a truck driver in his hometown of Willmar, living in his grandfather's house on the northside of town ...

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Army Master Sgt. Carl H. Lindquist

WILLMAR - Army Master Sgt. Carl H. Lindquist fought in World War II and survived the Battle of the Bulge.

After the war, he went back to being a truck driver in his hometown of Willmar, living in his grandfather's house on the northside of town along the tracks. He became bored with trucking, though, and he re-enlisted at the beginning of the Korean War.

Lindquist was sent to Japan to train soldiers how to fight in snowshoes and skis. Then he went to Korea. He was reported missing in action Nov. 29, 1950, in a battle with the Chinese on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Months later he was classified as killed in action but was still missing. He was 32 and single.

This week, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that Lindquist's remains have been identified, 68 years after his death.

Nephew Terrell Myllenbeck of New London, who is 71, said he hadn't expected to hear that news in his lifetime.

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"I was 4 when he died," he said. "I remember a little bit, and we've got movies to jar the memory."

Their uncle spoiled him and his sister, he said. "He got me hooked on banana popsicles."

When he was a child, he said, the family didn't talk about his Uncle Carl that much. "It was kinda hard to talk about him, I suppose," he said, but his mother Alice Marion Myllenbeck kept a large photo of him on the dresser. She was Lindquist's only sibling. She died in 2011.

While they didn't talk about him a lot, Lindquist was not far from his family's thoughts. There's a plot with a marker waiting for him at Arlington National Cemetery, arranged many years ago, "so there would be a burial site for him when they found him." A date has not yet been set for the burial.

Lindquist's remains had actually been buried in Hawaii since the 1950s and were part of an exchange of war dead between the United Nations and communist forces in 1954, according to a news release.

The technology of the time could not definitively connect any of the remains with Lindquist, and he was listed as non-recoverable.

The unidentified remains from the exchange were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. More than 7,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Identification efforts continue with advancements in technology.

In 2013, a set of unidentified remains were disinterred and sent for identification. The remains had reportedly been found in an isolated grave on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir.

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Lindquist's remains were identified through a combination of historical research and analysis of mitochondrial DNA along with dental records, anthropological information and chest X-rays.

Lindquist's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the cemetery in Hawaii. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been identified.

Myllenbeck said the surviving family includes him and his brother John, plus some cousins.

The family has deep Willmar roots, though only a few relatives still live in the area, Myllenbeck said.

Lindquist's parents were John Lindquist, who worked for the city and died in 1967, and Edith Nelson Lindquist, who died in 1977. Lindquist's grandfather Peter Nelson was Willmar's first veterinarian, he said.

Myllenbeck served more than 20 years in the Air Force, and during that time he had access to some classified information on a need-to-know basis. "Relatives were need-to-know," he said.

By looking at daily reports, he said, he pieced together what may have happened to his uncle. Lindquist was serving with the Headquarters Company of the 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat Team. Daily reports from Nov. 29, 1950, indicate that a runner came to the headquarters requesting more personnel, because they were being overrun by Chinese. A similar message later led to the order to retreat.

When a military unit retreats, Myllenbeck said, some are assigned to protect it from the rear, and he thinks his uncle may have been part of that group. There was no air support because of bad weather.

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"All of those who were killed at Chosin were part of the rear guard to protect the retreat," he said. "That's my thought."

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Carl H. Lindquist

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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