Remains of sailor killed at Pearl Harbor return to Dallas

Eighty years, four months and 27 days after Navy Fireman 1st Class George Franklin Price was killed at Pearl Harbor, his remains finally made it home.

Price was aboard the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941, when the battleship suffered multiple torpedoes and capsized.

He was among nearly 400 sailors from the USS Oklahoma who were classified as “unsalvageable” following the attack.

So for decades his unidentified remains were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl.

But efforts by the US Navy in recent years to identify those remains using DNA analysis mean that Price’s family have had the chance all these years later to honor him – and bury him – in his home. hometown.

Back by the river

Price grew up in a large family in Dallas City, right on the Mississippi River.

Family, veterans and townspeople attended Price’s funeral on May 4 at Banks and Beals Funeral Home in his hometown, overlooking this river.

“Uncle George grew up on this river. They lived off that river,” said Pastor Joyce Martin, who is one of Price’s seven living nieces and nephews.

They were all born after the death of their Uncle George and never knew him themselves, but they know he was particularly close to his five sisters.

Martin said he was still a big part of the family, in the stories told by the sisters and in the grief they carried over the years.

“I know the loss has been great for the family. I know I often heard the sisters say that Grandma never got over it. And I’m sure neither did Grandpa,” she said.

At the funeral, Martin pointed to a bouquet placed next to Price’s casket.

There were five red roses for the sisters, two blue for her parents, and one white for Uncle George.

Right next to her

Since 2015, scientists have used dental, anthropological and DNA analysis to identify 355 of the USS Oklahoma’s 388 service members. which had been buried as unknown remains.

Price’s remains were identified after several of his nieces and nephews provided DNA samples.

The sailor was awarded a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon and a Navy Good Conduct Medal for his service.

These came with him to Dallas City. It was another emotional comeback for the nieces and nephews, whose mothers – those five sisters – have all passed away.

“My mother was Pearl Price,” said Franklin Freeman, himself a veteran. “She loved him…so much.”

Freeman and the others are now reassured that Uncle George’s final resting place is in Harris Cemetery, in the same cemetery as his parents – and between two such sisters, including his mother.

“So now he’ll be right next to her,” Freeman said.

remember like a hero

Hundreds of American flags lined the entire 2 ½ mile route between the funeral home and the cemetery.

Hundreds of people did too, some waving as the procession passed.

Rolling Thunder, which promotes the needs of veterans, escorted the white hearse carrying Price’s remains along the route, as did local police and firefighters and many of the more than 150 people who attended the funeral .

At the cemetery, a funeral service and full military honors were conducted by Ronald Pettigrew, Navy Chaplain for the Seventh Fleet, which is the same Pacific Fleet in which Price served.

Pettigrew said Price and the Oklahoma crew were dedicated to their ship and their mission.

After some tap dancing, the six sailors carrying Price’s casket removed the flag draped over it and folded the flag into a triangle.

They handed the flag to Pettigrew, who handed it to Martin, as hundreds of mourners looked on who never met Price – but still remember him as a hero.

“On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Navy, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our gratitude for your uncle’s service,” Pettigrew said.

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