A late soldier from Sapulpa will now be reinstated after his family fought for the change.
Gregory Wedel-Morales went missing from Fort Hood in August of 2019 and was labeled as "absent without leave." His remains were found in June in an open field in Killeen, Texas.
Greg's mom Kim Wedel says they may have won this round, but the bigger battle is not over, and she fights for answer and for change.
"I feel like I added thousands of people to my family," Wedel told News on 6.
Wedel says in her fight to get her son reinstated, she had a secret weapon - a nation-wide support system.
"I always felt kind of like I was on my own and all these people have shown me I'm not," said Wedel.
Greg was labeled as AWOL and a "deserter" after he did not show up for formation at Fort Hood. Wedel fought for months to get the army to change his status so she could give him a military burial. Wedel says she received messages, letters, and emails, all sharing their support for her son and their hope for him to get his name reinstated.
Wedel says their entire family served in the military and she wanted her son buried honorably with them.
"It was something he always wanted to be was a soldier in the military. He wanted to protect his country. He just thought it was his duty to do that and for them to take that away from him, it was just very hard for mom. He works so hard for something and then he wasn’t going to get it," Wedel explained.
Changing Greg's status entitles him to burial with full military honors.
The army sent News on 6 the following statement:
"His status was administratively changed based on trustworthy investigative updates into his disappearance in coordination with investigators."
The army would not specify the updates they referenced to News on 6 because of the ongoing investigation.
Just this week a large vigil was held for another missing Fort Hood soldier, 20-year-old Specialist Vanessa Guillén. Authorities believe she was killed on April 22, 2020 inside a Fort Hood, Texas, armory by another enlisted soldier, Specialist Aaron David Robinson.
Wedel says she feels Vanessa's case helped bring Greg's to the public eye.
"I think Vanessa‘s story and what her family has done, they have moved mountains towards getting a lot of cases looked at again. I know that losing their daughter is just as devastating as me losing Greg, but if it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if we would’ve found Greg," Wedel admitted.
Now Wedel plans to educate soldiers who enlist on the dangers being in a large military base.
"I think it's a little bit of Greg in a little bit of God telling me I need to do this," Wedel said with tears in her eyes, "I think he would want me to help others, because that’s what he did. Just have to figure out how I’m going to do it."
Kim says the army is planning to escort Greg's body back to Oklahoma and he will be buried in Sand Springs.
However, no services have been finalized yet.