Remains of sailor who died during Pearl Harbor returned to League City

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Monday, June 3, 2019
World War II sailor remains returned home
After 77 years, a World War II sailor remains are returned home.

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- United States Navy seaman second-class Class Richard J. Thomson was only 19 years old when he died aboard the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor.

After 77 years, he is finally home.

Richard's sister Betty Perkins Thomson says, "It was unbelievable, awesome. I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime, but I am so glad it did."

It was long believed he died in the attack, but it wasn't until this year his remains were positively identified through DNA testing.

Until 2015, he was buried in Hawaii with other unknown casualties. Thomson's remains were exhumed for DNA analysis.

Thomson got the homecoming he deserved on Saturday. He's now buried next to his brother and parents.

Hundreds of people came to the ceremony to pay tribute to Thomson.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,729 still unaccounted. Thomson's name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.