ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: 66 year search for buddy who was killed in action brings Korean War Vet to Colma

COLMA, Calif. (KGO) -- A Korean War veteran from Philadelphia got the answer to a six-decade-old mystery-- where is the final resting place of a buddy who died in his arms in combat almost 66 years ago. The answer came in a Colma cemetery.

Retired Army Sgt. Major Vincent Salceto has been waiting for this day since 1953.

That's when his friend, San Francisco native David Ferrari and two other men went down when their squad was attacked during a reconnaissance patrol.

"We were hit with an artillery barrage. It was chaos," Salceto said.

Vince ran out, under fire, and pulled two of the wounded men to safety. But, when he went out a third time to get David, he found him mortally wounded.

"As I turned him over-- he was hit pretty good," he said.

Before David was killed in action, sharing the fear and adrenaline rush of combat had turned the two into brothers. Vince took his death hard and vowed he would never go through those emotions again.

"Nobody got close to me. You have a job to do," he said.

Vince promised that after the war he would track down David's family and tell them what happened. At first, he couldn't find them. Then marriage, six kids, and a 30-year career as a Philadelphia cop took priority. But nightmares about what happened never went away. Then, two weeks ago, a lead pointed to the Italian cemetery in Colma and Vince and family flew out.

There was a brief graveside service-- the cemetery set up wreaths and an American flag. A priest said a prayer, and Vince placed a bronze star medal on the grave. He solemnly saluted as a recording of taps played.

Vince, who just turned 87, held back his tears, but he says a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

"It feels as though I can just move on with my life. Hopefully, these nightmares will leave me."

Vince and Dave's last mission together-- accomplished.
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