Corporal Harold “Buck” Pearce

Corporal Harold “Buck” Pearce was killed in action near Taejon, Republic of Korea (South Korea) on July 20, 1950. Corporal Pearce was born in Dillon County on January 10, 1925. He was the son of James Colon Pearce and Nellie Stanton Pearce. He was preceded in death by his mother and brother Carl Pearce. At the time of his death, he was survived by the following who are now deceased: his father, James Colon Pearce; his step-mother, Fannie S. Pearce; brothers Henry Ellis Pearce, Paul Pearce, and LeGrand Pearce; and sisters Jane Pearce Nelson, Ruby Pearce Tyler, Erin Pearce McCullough, and Ruth Pearce. He is survived by sisters Hazel Pearce Allen and Ann Pearce, and by brother Pat Pearce.
Buck grew up on a farm near Little Rock and graduated from Dillon High School. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord during his teenage years. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1945, and was discharged during the troop reductions at the end of World War II. After a few years, including one year of “playing around at Clemson College,” according to one sibling, Buck re-enlisted. He completed military police training, served in Puerto Rico for one tour and was transferred to Japan.
Corporal Pearce’s unit was among those hastily rushed in to help the Republic of Korea (South Korea) when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) surprisingly invaded them in June/July 1950. The out-numbered and ill-equipped South Korean and U.S. forces were fighting a defensive war, trying to slow the North Korean invasion until reinforcements and more powerful equipment could arrive. On July 19, 1950, Corporal Pearce was part of a team who escorted North Korean prisoners of war behind the battle lines for interrogation. The next morning as he returned through Taejon toward his unit, he was hit with multiple machine gun projectiles. Later that day members of his unit saw his dead body slumped over the steering wheel of his jeep, but they were under such heavy attack that they were not able to recover his body. His family was notified that he was missing in action in September 1950. In February 1953, Corporal Pearce’s family was notified that his status had been changed to killed in action, and in January 1956 that his body was “nonrecoverable.”
When United Nations’ reinforcements arrived, they and South Korean forces began to recover and push the North Koreans back north, eventually almost into China. As parts of South Korea were being regained, efforts were made to recover and identify the remains of those who had been killed earlier. If remains could not be identified, they were tagged with an identification number and the location where they were found. The remains that recently were determined to be Corporal Pearce’s were identified as Unknown X-210 Taejon. Several investigations in the 1950’s were pursued, but none were successful in identifying the remains as those of Corporal Pearce. In February 1956, the remains identified as Unknown X-210 Taejon were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also known as the “Punchbowl”) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In August 2018, the Defense Department approved a proposed project from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to disinter 652 Korean War Unknowns from the “Punchbowl” for reexamination, scientific testing, and possible identification. On July 29, 2019, Corporal Pearce’s family received a phone call telling them that his remains had been identified.
A memorial service with full military honors is scheduled for 11:00 AM, September 26, 2019 at Catfish Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Latta, SC. The patriot guard will lead the procession. Visitors are welcome to come by and view the casket and sign the guest book at the funeral home.
The Pearce family expresses immense gratitude to God for the many ways He has demonstrated His mercy, grace and love to them over the years, and especially at this time. They also are very grateful to the Department of Defense, especially the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, who are committed to making extreme efforts to find, identify, and bring home the bodies our military personnel who have died in battle.
The Pearce family is grateful also to Cooper Funeral Home for their assistance during this sacred time.