Body of Kentucky sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack 76 years ago returned home

Photo: U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - This week the remains of a sailor killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor were returned to his home in Kentucky.

"To me it's not sorrow. It's a celebration of life and it's because all of our dads and uncles and aunts, they can now rest in peace," said Samuel Crowder's nephew, Fred Crowder

It's been 76 years since Petty Officer 1st Class Samuel Crowder was serving on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

"The Oklahoma was hit by nine torpedoes. Capsized and sank in 12 minutes. So there was a lot of damage done," said family member John Johnson

The Navy tried to identify the bodies, but in most cases were unsuccessful. They were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

"All of our veterans that didn't come home are heroes, they are. And Sam even though we never knew him," Johnson said.

Advances in DNA testing led to Crowder's identification.

This week family members who had never met him were waiting to welcome his remains back to Kentucky.

"It's just something we can finally say 'You’re home,'" Fred Crowder said.

Crowder's funeral will be held Saturday afternoon at Arch L. Heady Resthaven Funeral Home on Bardstown Road in Louisville.

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