JACKSON, MISS–The remains of Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston arrived at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport Tuesday morning.
The Patriot Guard escorted him on his final journey home via I-55 south to Riverwood Funeral Home in Brookhaven.
Family of the fallen soldier met at the airport to bring Johnston home. The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the procession the entire way.
The procession went down I-55 South to Brookhaven’s Riverwood Funeral Home, before the remains will be put to rest in Wesson Cemetery Wednesday.
The video below, taken by Robert Byrd from SuperTalk Southwest in Brookhaven, was filmed from the I-55 overpass at Mt. Zion Road, exit 51.
For members of the guard, this was a personal mission, even though Johnston was a young man they never met.
Randy Lackey, of Crystal Springs, choked back tears.
“This is just something that we give back to the family,” said Lackey. “He died 75 years ago at Pearl Harbor. This is just some closure for the family.”
At the time of his death, Johnston was just 23 years-old.
Dozens of riders showed up for the escort.
Johnston’s memorial service will be held in Wesson Cemetery at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 7, with a full military graveside service conducted by a U. S. Navy chaplain. A flyover is scheduled for approximately 10:37–75 years exactly after he died.
Students of Wesson Attendance Center will gather in the parking lot as the procession passes by into the cemetery. Everyone who lives on, works on or owns a business along the Hwy. 51 route into Wesson is asked to display American flags, joining Wesson VFD and American Legion Socks for Heroes.
The return has been a long time coming, said Patriot Guard of Mississippi Captain Don McKibben.
“His mom and dad, brothers and sisters did not get the chance to see him come home, but his other family members, nieces and nephews are excited to see him finally return home,” said McKibben
In April of 2015 the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma and on June 15, 2015 the personnel began exhuming the remains for analysis.
16 million Americans served in World War II and more than 400,000 were killed. To this day 73,117 are still unaccounted for.