Brooklyn sailor who died at Pearl Harbor could be coming home
The remains of a Pearl Harbor sailor from Brooklyn may finally make it home nearly eight decades after his death — thanks to modern technology, authorities said on the anniversary of the attack.
Navy seaman Walter Foley — who was killed at age 18 during the Japanese military strike exactly 77 years ago Friday — was identified as part of a mass exhumation of soldiers who never got proper burials, the Defense Department said.
Of the 429 crew members who died aboard the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, only 35 had previously been identified, leaving some families without closure. But in recent years, the DOD identified 189 of the fallen sailors and Marines — from states including Tennessee, Idaho and South Carolina, according to reports.
Foley once lived in Park Slope, on St. Johns Place near Eighth Avenue, according to a death notice, which lists his now-deceased father as Roger Foley. On the day he died, his rank was seaman 1st class.
His body, which was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, was identified using DNA samples provided by his family, officials said. It wasn’t clear whether his relatives plan to ship his remains home to Brooklyn. But New Yorkers cheered the possibility that he’d make it home after all these years.
“Welcome home hero,” one supporter from The Bronx, Michael Sudano, wrote on Facebook.
Navy archivists didn’t return requests for information about Foley on Friday.
On Wednesday, the remains of a South Carolina man — who also died during the Pearl Harbor attack — was sent home ahead of the anniversary, according to CNN. The body of Carl David Dorr, who was killed at age 27, arrived in
Greenville in a flag-draped coffin. He was laid to rest at a funeral on Friday, the network reported.
More than two dozen of his relatives gathered at South Carolina’s Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, where his coffin was lowered from the plane into a hearse.
“There was nothing but dead silence,” Dorr’s 70-year-old nephew, Thomas Dorr, told CNN. “I knew that what I was experiencing was history.”
The family then led a procession with limos and horses to a funeral home in Greenville, where they were saluted by law enforcement and fire department officials.
Before joining the Navy, Dorr worked at a movie theater during the Great Depression.
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