Sailor from Grayslake killed at Pearl Harbor to be laid to relaxation, at last

CHICAGO (AP) — A 21-year-old sailor will be laid to relaxation on Tuesday following a decades-long effort to establish stays pulled from Pearl Harbor, greater than 80 years after he was killed within the assault that propelled the United States into World War II.

Members of Herbert “Bert” Jacobson’s household have waited all their lives to attend a memorial for the younger man they knew about however by no means met. Jacobson was among the many greater than 400 sailors and Marines killed on the USS Oklahoma through the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. The casket containing his stays will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

“This has kind of been an unsolved mystery and it gives us closure to finally know what happened to Bert, where he is and that he’s being finally laid to rest after being listed as an unknown for so long,” mentioned Brad McDonald, a nephew.

The service at Arlington will be the newest chapter within the story of the person from the small northern Illinois city of Grayslake, for the household that by no means had a physique to bury when he was killed and the scientific quest to put names to the stays of tons of of personnel from the battleship who lay buried anonymously for many years in a dormant volcanic crater close to Pearl Harbor.

It is a narrative of ready.

The battleship remained submerged for 2 years earlier than it was refloated and our bodies have been recovered. A number of years later, the graves of males on the Oklahoma have been reopened within the hopes that dental information would possibly lead to their names. But 27 units of stays weren’t recognized and had to be reinterred at the crater, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, generally often known as the Punchbowl.

Another effort to establish about 100 units of stays got here up empty in 2003.

In 2015, the Department of Defense introduced plans to exhume the stays once more.

“We now have the ability to forensically test these remains and produce the identifications,” Debra Prince Zinni, a forensic anthropologist and laboratory supervisor at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii, informed The Associated Press at the time.

That gave new hope to Jacobson relations, who had been dissatisfied by every failed effort. They informed the AP that Jacobson’s mom cried each Dec. 7, at least partly as a result of she by no means knew the place he was.

“She always had the hope the phone would ring and it would be Bert,” McDonald mentioned.

The 2015 effort, Project Oklahoma, has led to the identification of 355 males — together with Jacobson — who have been killed when their ship was hit by at least 9 torpedoes. That leaves 33 units of stays nonetheless to be recognized. To mark the eightieth anniversary of the assault, these unidentified stays have been reinterred, mentioned Gene Hughes, a public affairs officer with Navy Personnel Command. He has labored with the households of these killed on the Oklahoma, together with Jacobson’s kin.

For Jacobson’s household, any hope they might know precisely what occurred on Dec. 7, 1941, light way back. All they knew from speaking to Jacobson’s shipmates was that he had simply come off responsibility after spending a number of hours ferrying males to shore.

McDonald mentioned a great pal of his uncle’s from the Navy mentioned he was fairly positive Jacobson “was asleep in his bunk and died before he even knew a war was going on. But we don’t really know.”

That left one last question: What occurred to Bert Jacobson’s physique?

The answer got here in 2019, when McDonald mentioned the household was notified that Jacobson’s stays had been recognized. Hoping the burial might happen the following year, they have been compelled to wait, largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed most gatherings, funerals included.

Now, they’re getting the closure that Jacobson’s dad and mom and different relations by no means had.

“I wish they could have seen this,” McDonald mentioned of his grandparents, dad and mom and others.

For him, seeing the uncle he by no means met take his place at Arlington is very vital.

“When Bert joined the Navy, he ran into a fella from South Dakota who was an orphan,” McDonald mentioned. “When they got a weekend pass, Bert took him home and the orphan met his (Bert’s) younger sister.”

Orville McDonald and Norma Jacobson dated and later married, giving McDonald a favourite ending to that story.

“That orphan was my dad, and Bert’s sister was my mom,” he mentioned. “So, I wouldn’t be here without Bert.”

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