Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-06-11 08:15:34 –
Almost 80 years later, Petty Officer William Eugene Blanchard finally returned home with his family.
On Monday, nearly 30 people, including some members of Blanchard’s family, were accompanied by military honor at the Twiford Funeral House for Navy sailors killed in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I attended the memorial service. Grave.
The memorial service began at 1:56 pm. At Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, the first torpedo on board a Japanese aircraft attacked USS Oklahoma at 7:56 am. Eventually sink a Nevada-class battleship in the middle of the ship.
Blanchard, who was assigned to Oklahoma as a boilermaker, was one of the 2,000 sailors, soldiers, and civilians killed in a Japanese sneak attack.
The monument on Monday was made possible about 80 years after a lesser-known agency of the US Department of Defense used DNA to identify Blanchard’s body.
The Defense POW / MIA Accounting Office (DPAA) has been working for several years to identify the bodies of 429 seafarers who died in Oklahoma.
Blanchard’s son Bill, who lives in Elizabeth City with his wife Sandra, received a phone call in February informing him that DPAA had clearly identified his father’s body through DNA testing. The agency identified the body using a DNA sample collected from the first cousin of Blanchard Sr., Georgia.
Bill, who is 80 years old today, was only six months old when his father died, but was joined by Sandra and her three children (Stephanie, Darin, and Chris) at a worship service on Monday.
“I’d like to put it another way, but none of us here today are honored to know the man personally. My dad is too young to remember him. “I did,” Stephanie called his grandfather by nickname.
Stephanie talked about her grandfather, based on a story told by her grandmother and Blanchard’s wife, Laura Ann.
“The story my grandmother told me that Jean was a great dancer. They won several Jitterbug contests in Bremerton, Washington in 1940,” she said. “He enjoyed boxing and asked his grandmother to send him boxing shoes, so he could hit the bag back to its original shape and spend time on the ship.
“He loved Ford in 1937 and wrote a list of what his grandmother had to do with her car before she got home, including getting four new tires and a new battery from Sears.” Said Stephanie.
Jean had a great sense of humor, was romantic, and felt a great deal of responsibility for her subordinates riding Oklahoma, she said.
“But above all, he loved two things more than anything else in the world. My wife and boy Billie Jean, my dad Bill,” Stephanie said.
Born in Tignall, Georgia, William Eugene Blanchard was a blacksmith before joining the Navy in 1936. He met his wife Laura Ann in Bremerton, Washington and married in 1939. Laura Ann gave birth to Bill. June 1941.
When he arrived at Pearl Harbor, William was a non-commissioned officer assigned to USS Oklahoma. He worked as a “boilermaker” — one of the sailors whose job was to take care of the ship’s boiler system.
The Nevada-class battleship Oklahoma was moored on Ford Island on the morning of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
In preparation for William’s monument, Bill and Sandra purchased three plots at the New Hollywood Cemetery. One is where William is buried in a steel watertight casket provided by the Navy. The other two plots are reserved for them.
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