WESSON, Miss.- Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston, 23, of Wesson Mississippi has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
On Dec. 7, 1941 Johnston was assigned to the USS Oklahoma out of Ford Island, Pearl Harbor when his ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The vessel sustained multiple torpedo hits and eventually sank. The attack caused the deaths of 429 of its crewmen, including Johnston.
He will be returning home on December 5 and buried on December 7.
“He will be flown from Hawaii into Atlanta. The U.S. Navy will do dignified transfer and plane side military honors, transferring him to the coach and then to the funeral home,” said Don McKibben, Captain of the Patriot Guard.”We will then escort him down I-55.”
Navy personal began attempting to recover the deceased from December 1941 until June 1944. In September of 1947 the lab staff were able to confirm the identities of 35 of the men from USS Oklahoma and the remains of the other 46 were buried in unmarked plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
“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.
“The community is encouraged to come out for the service on Wednesday,” said McKibben.