Crossroads Family welcomes home Korean War vet 69 years after death

The remains of a Texas solider killed in cross fire during the Korean War have been identified, and he will be buried near his hometown on Friday.

Master Sergeant Charlie J. Mares, of Waelder , Texas, was only 30 years old when he died serving his country in the Korean War. He was reported as missing in July 1950 and buried in a mass grave.

His body was removed and buried in a different mass grave in Honolulu for decades before being unearthed again in October 2018 for an x-ray analysis that ultimately confirmed Mares’ identity using a comparison to his clavicle.

Master Sgt. Mares was the uncle of Coach Mares, who coached for Goliad and St. Josephs schools. Coach Mares’ daughters are Cassie and Tanya. Cassie works as a Lieutenant at the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office. Tanya is a fugitive taskforce officer for the US Marshal Service in Victoria, Texas.

John Mares, Master Sgt. Mares’ nephew said that he has been left speechless by all the support shown from the Victoria and Gonzlaez and the war vet communities. He shared that his grandmother always said one day Charlie is gonna come home. “To get him back home and get him next to my dad on the Mares plot it’s a dream come true,” John Mares said.

Master Sgt. Mares’ body was flown into San Antonio, Texas Wednesday afternoon to be ultimately be buried in Cistern, Texas.

When the body landed at San Antonio International Airport, Master Sgt. Mares’ family received him on the tarmac before being escorted by the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office and Gonzalez County Sheriff’s Office to Flatonia Texas where there will be a public visitation. The funeral procession also includes a cohort of war veterans from around the Crossroads.

VCSO Chief Deputy Roy Boyd said, ” The Mares family has been instrumental in this region. Very well respected, and as part of our family in law enforcement we have to do our part to honor their family. ”
The visitation will take place at Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Flatonia , Texas on Thursday afternoon at 1p.m. This will be followed by a Rosary at 7p.m. The visitation is free and open to the public.

Friday morning at 11 a.m. there will be a funeral mass in Cistern, Texas at the Sts . Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church followed by a full military honors burial at the church’s cemetery.

The military will pay for the funeral service and the headstone. VCSO reached out to fellow Victorian and ex-vet, Caleb Shaw, to help raise funds on behalf of the Mares family for the dinner following the burial service. Shaw explained that it means a lot to him to step in and bring the community together in honor of a fallen soldier.

” And even after losing this hero in 1950, all these years later, to see this show of support it resonates throughout the veteran community and for the family. And it brings closure based on love and respect and dedication and respect of service, ” said Caleb Shaw.

VSCO will be attending the burial as well on Friday morning. Both the funeral mass and the burial are open to the public.