Sunday, April 25, 1999

Covington mother hopes for final answer 24 years later

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        If U.S. investigators identify the human bone fragments found on Cambodia's Koh Tang Island, Seldon and Norma Hall may finally have a concrete answer about what happened to their son.

        It's an answer they've been waiting to hear for 24 years.

        “I'd love to really hope he's still alive,” said Mrs. Hall, Pfc. Gary Lee Hall's mother, from her Covington home Saturday. “But after 24 years, my hope really has faded.”

        Her then-18-year-old Marine son was on Koh Tang Island to guard other Marines rescuing the SS Mayaguez crew in 1975.

        Pfc. Hall, a Holmes High School graduate, was one of 310 Marines picked to take part in the rescue, according to stories in The Cincinnati Enquirer at the time. Reports were that he and two other Marines were left behind.

        The Halls receive periodic letters from the Marines updating them on efforts to find out what happened to their son.

        Mrs. Hall said even if her son was captured, she has accepted the fact that he was likely killed. But the news did reopen wounds.

        So if anthropologists at the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii can identify the bones and they do turn out to be those of Pfc. Hall, it would provide a greater sense of closure.

        “It would really be final to me,” Mrs. Hall said. “You really just want to know.”


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