KACKSON, Mississippi (WLBT/NBC News) – It was a solemn ceremony on Friday as the remains of a Pearl Harbor sailor arrived in Jackson, Mississippi.
Fellow sailors carried out the transfer ceremony for Navy Seaman First Class Richard Leon Watson of Crossett, Arkansas.
Watson was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Pearl Harbor when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft, resulting in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Watson.
He was taken by an escort that included Patriot Guard riders to his final resting place in Bonita, Louisiana.
“It’s important for us to honor those who have served and paid the ultimate price — their lives — for our safety, for our security, and for us to enjoy the freedoms that we now enjoy,” said Yolanda Clay-Moore, spokeswoman for the Jackson International Airport.
To identify Watson’s remains, scientists used mitochondrial DNA analysis and dental records. His name is recorded on the “Walls of the Missing” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, 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.