Aggie Soldier’s Remains Identified
The call from Fort Knox came while Sam Storms was driving a load of brush to the dump.
“I have good news for you,” said the voice on the other line. “We found your daddy.”
The Pflugerville resident pulled off the road and immediately contacted his brothers. Sam was nine years old the last time he saw his father, Maj. Harvey H. Storms. They were exchanging goodbyes on a train platform in Tokyo as his father — who graduated from Texas A&M University in 1939 — left to fight in the Korean War.
For the last 69 years, until last month, Harvey Storms was presumed to be killed in action at North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir, his body never recovered. A U.S. Army major with the Headquarters Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, Storms was last seen after leading an attack up an icy hill, where he was shot 10 to 12 times. He was 34.
But last month, DNA testing confirmed that Storms was among 55 American servicemen whose remains were returned to the U.S. by North Korea last year, finally bringing closure to the family of the Texas A&M graduate. Nineteen members of the Storms family, including his four sons, gathered Friday at the university campus in College Station, where the late Aggie was honored by The Association of Former Students.
“It’s been a long journey when you’ve known what probably, most likely happened to him — when and where,” Sam said. “Everybody asks me, ‘How do you feel?’ I don’t know, because we always had hope, but I never figured that he would show up.”
Four Texas A&M flags flew over the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center this week in honor and appreciation of Storms’ service and exemplary embodiment of the university’s core values. They were presented to his sons, Sam, Billy, Ernie and Robert, along with coins from The Association of Former Students and Corps of Cadets.
Sam, the oldest, is the only brother with strong memories of their father. Storms died before Robert was born. For the younger brothers, Storms mostly existed in the letters he wrote to their mother and in his A&M yearbooks, where he was pictured smiling in his cadet uniform. Those yearbooks were lost long ago to a fire. The Association of Former Students presented new copies to the family Friday.
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of communications and human resources for the alumni group, recounted the story of Storms sliding down the hill at Chosin Reservoir, his body riddled with bullets.
“He says to the men, ‘I have fought the good fight. You kids go over the hill and knock out the road block. I’ll go back down and get the rest of them,’” Greenwade said. “I think that is what you would expect from every Texas Aggie, and it speaks to his determination and giving his all until the very last breath. We are glad that we can honor your father this way.”
A final chapter
Not long after graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, Storms enlisted in the Army and fought in World War II. During his service in the Korean War, he was declared missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950. The news reached his family the next month.
Two men came to the Storms’ home in South Texas and handed their mother a telegram, Sam recalled. She shut the door and walked back into the kitchen, where Sam leaned against the countertop. His mother quietly opened the refrigerator door and stopped, standing for what felt like “forever.”
“She just said, ‘Sammy, I don’t know what we’re gonna do, but God’s gonna take care of us,’” Sam said tearfully.
Two years later, Storms was presumed to be killed in action.
But the brothers, who both laughed and cried Friday as they spoke about their father, say they never felt sorry for themselves. Robert, the youngest, never met his father, and their mother died 10 years after he was born. He said he didn’t feel angry or bitter about his circumstances, and instead felt grateful for his heritage and the legacy his parents left behind.
For Billy, the second-oldest brother, the identification of their father’s remains brings closure to the last chapter of his father’s story.
“For this to happen — now I know the end,” he said. “That’s satisfying.”
Jim Storms, who graduated from Texas A&M in 1994, credits his grandfather’s legacy as part of the reason he decided on Aggieland.
He had heard the broad strokes of Harvey Storms’ story from his father, Sam, and was eager to find out more when he arrived on campus in 1990. Jim said he found his grandfather’s photo in yearbooks, where he learned that he ran track. After so many years looking for information about his grandfather, Jim said the identification of his remains brings some closure.
Michael Storms — the other Aggie in the family; a 1998 graduate — said when it came time to apply to college, there was never an option besides A&M. He had grown up hearing stories about the grandfather who had been declared missing in action before his father, Robert, was born.
Each of Storms’ sons gave a child, including Michael, the middle name Harvey — meaning “battle worthy.”
“I think knowing that I was named after a hero, and not only me but my father and cousins are named after a hero, that’s why I’m so emotional today,” Michael said of his grandfather, who is anticipated to be buried next summer at Arlington National Cemetery. “It makes me extremely proud, that heritage. I’m very proud to be an Aggie.”
Media contact: Caitlin Clark, 979-458-8412, email@example.com.