2011-12-03 / Front Page

Where is Lieutenant John Baptist Goery?

An internet posting about John Baptist Goery, who was apparently the only Potter County native killed in the Korean War, has generated new interest in accounting for his remains.

Chuck Carr, a Wisconsin resident who served in the Marine Corps with Goery, has been trying to persuade the Korean government to cooperate – with no success.

Goery was shot down Dec. 27, 1952, over the Taedong estuary off the west coast of Korea.

He was born on Christmas Day 1929 and grew up in Galeton, the son of a blacksmith for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Shortly after he graduated from high school in 1947, he enlisted in the Marines and became a fifighter pilot.

Goery was promoted to fifirst lieutenant and acquired the nickname of “Scotty.”

Those who knew Goery found him to be personable and outgoing with a pleas- ant smile. Always upbeat, he took pride in being a Marine. Becoming a pilot just reinforced his dedication to the Corps, and he was also known as a skillful, steady pilot.

Goery was deployed aboard the USS Badoeng Strait, based at Sasebo, Japan. Its primary area of operation was in the Yellow Sea off the West Coast of Korea, around the 38th parallel.

By 1952 the war had settled into a give and take, making the 38th parallel the eventual political dividing line between North and South Korea. It was now obvious there would be no winners.

His mission of Dec. 27 was his 65th and he never returned.

Four months later, the Marine Corps notified his family that Goery’s status had been changed from missing in action to killed in action.

His girlfriend, Martha, who he had met in California, started a letter-writing campaign urging the Marine Corps to consider the possibility that Goery was rescued from the sea and was suffering from amnesia.

However, the Marine Corps concluded that even if Goery had survived the crash, he could not have survived the freezing water temperatures for three hours.

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