Stanley "Sonny" Arendt would be 82 now and likely still interested in girls and golf, according to the baby brother he left behind to go to war a lifetime ago.
Corporal Sonny Arendt was handsome, athletic and loyal to his friends. The Korean War combatant's third battalion of the first cavalry division was overrun by two Chinese communist divisions on November 1, 1950. The Battle of Unsan was a bloodbath that claimed several Chicago-area soldiers. Arendt survived and became a POW but was executed in a farm field two weeks later.
"If there is anything that I think we feel good about is that we at least have a conclusion to the story of our brother," said Jim Arendt, brother of missing soldier.Jim Arendt, 64, the resident pro at Naperville Golf and Country Club, says that his parents had trouble accepting his brother's fate.
"He actually re-enlisted for a year along with a couple of his friends to go to Korea which my dad always said why," said Arendt. "I know they missed him, it was always a hole in their heart."
Jim Arendt's sister, Dorothy, grew up with Sonny and received the Army's call when they were sure they had found the soldier's remains in a shallow grave. That followed a 2005 Army request for Jim and his son to donate blood.
"Along with that and the dental records they managed to put together the remains of my brother," said Arendt.
And though Sonny's loss was a fact from his earliest years, Jim says now knowing what happened to his big brother means more to him than he ever thought it would -- a bittersweetness he hopes other families of those missing in action experience.
"If they can bring them home, it will help a lot just to know they are back home in our country," said Arendt.
Dorothy Arendt will join her brother Jim and their families for the full military funeral on Monday in Palatine.