Kansas sailor killed at Pearl Harbor laid to rest after 78 years

Published: Sep. 14, 2019 at 9:10 PM CDT
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A Kansas sailor who was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor was laid to rest Saturday in El Dorado.


Seaman Wilbur Clayton Barrett received full military graveside honors. He was laid to rest 78 years after enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He died on December 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

"Here this 14th day of September, 2019 again we repatriating Second Class Wilbur Clayton Barrett to Kansas," said James Joseph Mehail, Captain U.S Navy.

His unidentified remains were buried in a mass grave in Oahu until DNA recently identified him.

"I was overwhelmed. He was a hero. He got the seven gun salute, and he got the honor guard, and they were so respectful," said Nancy Binter, great niece. "I was awestruck and so appreciative that the US government would do that after that amount of time."

"You can ask the question, why now? And the reason why now is because not only do we have the technology, but we're confident in the technology to put forth the effort to disturb the graves in Hawaii," said Mehail.

After sailor Barrett's death, a memorial tombstone was placed near the family at the Sunset Lawns Cemetery in El Dorado and Saturday it became his final resting place.