The Cincinnati Post Online Edition - June 05, 2000

By John C.K. Fisher, Post staff reporter

The Northern Kentucky aunt of the soldier being doubted for his account of the slaughter of civilians during the Korean War says she'd believe her nephew over government records.

Edward Lee Daily, who was born in Covington, never bragged about his Army days and wasn't known to be dishonest, said Deloris Losey McNabb, who lives in Erlanger.   ''I think I would trust Eddie Lee, rather than what they (government records) say,'' said Mrs. McNabb, 75. ''Eddie Lee is No. 1 in my book. I would believe Eddie Lee.''

Still, she said, Daily may have suffered mental trauma from the war and that could have affected his memory.  ''If you are over there in that Korean conflict, and you are dodging bullets, I think it affects your mind,'' Mrs. McNabb said. ''He probably thought he was in that (Nogun-ri shootout.)''

Daily, 69, who now lives in Clarksville, Tenn., was one of a number of GIs who were interviewed by the Associated Press for a Pulitzer Prize-winning series last year about whether dozens - or perhaps hundreds - of innocent Korean men, women and children were killed during a battle in Korea at Nogun-ri in July 1950.

Daily, who grew up in Elsmere and Erlanger before joining the Army as a teen-ager in the late 1940s, provided the news agency with the names and numbers of many veterans who said they witnessed the Nogun-ri incidents.

Daily told the Associated Press last year that he was at Nogun-ri during the shootings, but his first-hand account has since come under scrutiny by both the AP and the New York Times, which last week ran a front-page cover story about Daily and whether he made up his story about his involvement at Nogun-ri.

Both the AP and the New York Times confronted Daily with Army records that indicated he wasn't at Nogun-ri during the 1950 shooting incidents and in fact showed up at the site about eight months af terward. Daily, in interviews with the AP and the New York Times, didn't deny the official Army records - and appeared to back off his initial statements that he was in fact at Nogun-ri during the shootings.  Daily, who wrote two books about his experiences in the Korean War, could not be reached for comment.

Daily was born in Covington in 1932. The family lived on Jefferson Avenue in Covington before moving to Kenton Avenue in Elsmere. Daily's parents split up when he was a boy and he lived with his mother, who worked for Cambridge Title Co. in Cincinnati.

After the Korean War, Daily lived in Maryland and worked for Bethlehem Steel, his aunt said. Later, he opened a restaurant in Valparaiso, Ind., before moving to Clarksville.

Publication date: 06-05-00