World War II navy man finally comes home, laid to rest in Baxter Springs | KSNF/KODE

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BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — A World War II sailor who was killed during the Pearl Harbor attack will be finally be laid to rest in his hometown due to modern DNA matching.

Hadley Heavin served as a Fireman First Class on the USS West Virginia, but died in the attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 80 years ago.

His brother Charlie sent DNA to the Navy back in 2017. It was a match to remains of an unknown sailor who was buried in Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is in Baxter Springs at the service. The procession from First Christian Church after the funeral will travel north on Military Ave, passing by the Veterans Memorial in Baxter then travel west out of town to Baxter Springs Cemetery.

FROM DERFELT FUNERAL HOME OBITUARY

On December 7, 1941, Hadley was on board his ship, the USS West Virginia, and was on duty when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His ship sustained multiple torpedo hits and sank to the harbor floor. Initially, 107 crewmen were accounted for. When the ship was finally salvaged, Navy personnel recovered the remains of at least 66 additional crewmen, including Hadley. These remains were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, HI. Hadley was awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrificial service to his country.

Hadley’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for. 

In September, 2019, after 78 years, Hadley’s remains were identified after his two remaining brothers, Charles (Frog) Heavin and Rex Heavin, provided DNA samples to find their brother.



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