Soldier killed in Korean War buried with full military honors in Rock Falls

Col. Adam Dietrich presents Janis Rupp-Fischer with the flag that covered her brother Richard Seloover's casket Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

ROCK FALLS — The remains of a Rock Falls man, who was declared missing in action while fighting in the Korean War nearly 74 years ago, were buried with full military honors Tuesday at a Rock Falls cemetery.

U.S. Army Cpl. Richard Seloover, who was 17 at the time, went missing in action Sept. 6, 1950.

He was accounted for Jan. 10 after scientists at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified his remains. After 74 years in a grave labeled unknown, his remains were returned to Rock Falls on May 30.

Through DNA testing, scientists at the DPAA were able to narrow it down to three possible matches. Out of those three, Seloover was the only one who was 17 at the time that he died, David Rupp, brother-in-law to Seloover, said in an interview with Shaw Local.

Janice Rupp-Fischer, wife of David Rupp, was 5 years old when her brother enlisted in the army.

Back in the 1950s, it was common for people to enlist in the military when they were underage. Seloover hated school, she said.

“He was going to join the service and see the world,” Janice said in an interview with Shaw Local.

Right after he enlisted, the war in Korea broke out. Seloover completed his basic training while on a ship heading to Korea, she said.

On Tuesday, members of the Region 2 Illinois Patriot Guard Riders, members of Illinois Chapter 2 Rolling Thunder Inc., Rock Falls Fire Department, Rock Falls Police Department and the Illinois State Police gathered at the McDonald Funeral Home in Rock Falls, where services were held.

At 11 a.m., the procession arrived at Coloma Township Cemetery as the national anthem played. The Rock Falls Fire Department had a ladder truck to fly the American flag, a detail of uniformed active-duty military personnel stood in salute, and community members gathered to watch.

The service began with a member of Illinois Chapter 2 Rolling Thunder reading a eulogy: “It’s difficult to write a eulogy about someone you don’t know and you’re not from here...but I’ve commanded troops like his and I know what kind of soldier he was.”

He concluded the eulogy by reciting a quote by U.S. Army General George Patton: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

After, Col. Adam Dietrich of Fort Snelling, Minnesota, led troops in a flag-folding ceremony. Military personnel conducted the playing of taps and gave a three-volley salute, which involved a rifle party of four men firing blank cartridges into the air three times.

The Region 2 Illinois Patriot Guard Riders presented an honorary plaque to Janice Rupp-Fischer, members of Illinois Chapter 2 Rolling Thunder Inc. presented a frame with military honors to Janice and two veterans of the U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division paid their respects.

Seloover’s mother died before his remains were identified. She never got over his death and she always blamed herself for it because she was the one who signed the paperwork, Janice said.

“The fact that he is going to be with mom gives me a great sense of peace,” she said.

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Payton Felix

Payton Felix

Payton Felix reports on local news in the Sauk Valley for the Shaw Local News Network. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2023.