Tomas Martinez Candelario

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Co. B 1953 (Missing in action 7/17/1953)


Pvt. Tomas Martinez Candelario


On May 13, 2004, the New York Daily News reported that the Army may have found the remains of three soldiers from the 65th Inf. Regt. who were killed in a heroic charge against Chinese troops near the town of Sinmok-Tong in North Korea on July 17, 1953. Cpl. Howard Beard, Pvt. Tomas Martinez Candelario and Pvt. Ramon Delgado Gonzalez, members of Company “B” were last seen charging up Hill 433 in the face of heavy artillery from Chinese Communist troops entrenched in fortified bunkers. All three men were posthumously awarded the Silver Star for their actions that day.

In order to positively identify these remains, the Army is searching for these fallen soldiers’ surviving families. We sent out an email to our readers through our online newsletter requesting help in this search. Immediately we received responses. Rafael Delgado of Texas conducted genealogical research and contacted his cousin, Celso A. Hernandez of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Celso found Delgado Gonzalez’ sister, Margarita, living in Juncos, PR. Over in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sgt. Jose Hernandez volunteered to have his mother, Carmen Ramos of Mayaguez, P.R., call the names on a list we received from Rafael Delgado and although she was unsuccessful with the list, she mentioned the search to an acquaintance who happened to know the Martinez Candelario family. The family was absolutely flabbergasted to learn that their loved one’s remains may have been found. They had kept a burial plot empty in his honor hoping that Tomas would be found someday and returned home. Tomas Martinez Candelario is survived by his widow, Felicita Tirado of Guaynabo, a daughter, Maria de los Angeles Martinez Tirado and a son, Dickson Martinez.   Another volunteer, Ed Blanco, was vacationing in Puerto Rico with his family and offered to visit and take photos of the Martinez Candelario family.

Sadly, although both families contacted the Army weeks ago, nothing has been done. The Army said it was conducting DNA analysis to positively identify the remains, but no DNA samples were taken from the families. We are left puzzled as to why the Army would search for these families and then do nothing. Meanwhile, Cpl. Howard Beard’s family has not yet been found. Beard’s last known address was on W. Wendell Ave. in Chicago.

Nevertheless, we are extremely proud to have been able to help through our network of friends who receive THE PUERTO RICAN SOLDIER Online newsletter and of our community for going out of their way to find these families.  Thank you to all of those individuals who contacted us offering to help.  And a special thanks to Col. Arnie Albert (Ret.) for sending us the Daily News article. We commend you!

August, 2004
On behalf of my family and myself, we are enormously grateful to you and your volunteers for all the effort and inconveniences you have taken in trying to locate us, in connection with the findings of the remains of my father Tomas Martinez Candelario. I give thanks to all who had something to do with this in one way or another.  It was not an easy task, but you achieved it …

This, for myself and for my mother, has taken us so much by surprise because more than 50 years have passed since his disappearance.  I was only one-and-half years old; my brother was 6 months old.  Today I am 52 years old.  I truly thank you all again.  

Continue forward with your project and much success!

Maria de los A. Martinez

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