SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Navy is flying the remains of an Ohio man back to his home nearly 75 years after he was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
William “Billy” Welch of Springfield enlisted in the Navy at 17. He was among the 429 killed aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941.
Welch’s body wasn’t identified following the attack.
The U.S. Department of Defense began testing the remains of those buried in Hawaii for DNA this past year. The Springfield News-Sun reports (http://bit.ly/2ajAUZd ) one grave included a piece of jaw bone that matched Welch.
Family members are planning his funeral. Welch’s youngest sister, Ann Welch Ianni, says a military burial with full honors is planned for September.
Ianni said she had long ago given up hope the family could lay him to rest at home.
“We got to the point where we didn’t think we’d ever get him,” she said.
She was 8 when he was killed, but she knows he “was sweet and religious, loved his family.”
“We always talked about (Welch),” said his nephew, Tony Hannon of Springfield.
The family said the Navy will both pay to fly his remains back to Springfield and will pay the burial costs.
Information from: Springfield News-Sun, http://www.springfieldnewssun.com