Navy Sailor Who Was Killed During Pearl Harbor Is Finally Laid to Rest, 77 Years Later, On His 97th Birthday

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

It's been more than 77 years since Imperial Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, killing nearly 2400 U.S. service members and prompting the United States's entry into World War II. Thanks to advancements in genetic technology, remains of the victims are still being identified today and families are being provided with long-overdue closure. One of the latest previously unknown victims to be identified is a sailor named Charles Gomez Jr., who will be laid at his home in Louisiana, WDSU reports.

Gomez was 18 years old when he enlisted to serve in the Navy on August 10, 1940. The sailor was serving on the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—the day Japanese aircraft dropped bombs on the military base. Two years later, he received a posthumous Purple Heart, but his remains weren't brought home to his family.

It wasn't until decades later that Gomez's remains were identified with help from two surviving family members. His sister and brother gave their blood in 2016 to be used in DNA tests. Both siblings died in 2017, but their children were present for the funeral service, which wouldn't have been possible without the DNA samples.

Charles Gomez Jr. was buried in the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in his hometown of Slidell on June 3—what would have been his 97th birthday. He was laid to rest with full military honors.

Gomez is just one Pearl Harbor veteran to be identified and brought home in recent years. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed the remains of nearly 400 military members in 2015, and the organization has since identified over 180 victims of the attack.

[h/t WDSU]

Florida Man Discovers Original D-Day Audiotapes in His Basement

American troops landing on Omaha beach at Normandy on D-Day.
American troops landing on Omaha beach at Normandy on D-Day.
Keystone/Getty Images

Bruce Campbell never expected to find some of World War II’s most important radio broadcasts buried in his cluttered basement.

The story starts in 1994, when Campbell and his wife purchased a cabin in Mattituck, New York, a small town about 40 miles from Long Island. The cabin, formerly owned by the vice president of a company that manufactured audio recording equipment, was full of dusty boxes and old tapes that Campbell began clearing out soon after he moved in.

“I ran across this stuff that says, 1944, VJ day, all these different things from the war,” Campbell told The Washington Post. “I put them all in a plastic bag, [thinking] ‘These gotta be something, I’ll look at them another day.’”

Then he promptly forgot all about them.

Years later, Campbell—who now lives in Loxahatchee, Florida—sought the help of a British electrical engineer to figure out what was on the tapes. Campbell was shocked to find out that he was in possession of original D-Day dispatches from radio correspondent George Hicks.

“I’m listening to this, and I feel like I’m standing on the battleship with this guy,” Campbell said. “It made my hair stand up.”

Hicks’s broadcast is often considered one of the “best audio recordings to come out of World War II.” Hicks’s recording is significant because he was one of the few journalists who covered the D-Day invasions in real time [ PDF ].

Earlier this year, Campbell donated the tapes to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. “‘That’s the place’ where the artifacts should be,” Campbell told The Washington Post.

[h/t The Washington Post ]

Civil War Cannonballs Found on South Carolina Beach in Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

ABDESIGN/iStock via Getty Images
ABDESIGN/iStock via Getty Images

Hurricane Dorian skimmed the United States' East Coast last week, creating a trail of damage residents are still dealing with. But it wasn't just trash and debris the storm surges left behind: As WCSC reports, two cannonballs dating back to the Civil War were discovered on Folly Beach in South Carolina in the aftermath of the storm.

Aaron Lattin and his girlfriend Alba were walking on the beach on September 6 when they saw what looked like rocks nestled in the sand. As they examined them more closely, they realized they had found something much more special. The weathered objects were actually cannonballs that have likely been buried in the area for more than 150 years.

Incredibly, this isn't the first time Civil War cannonballs have been discovered on Folly Beach following a hurricane: In 2016, Hurricane Matthew unearthed 16 of them. Folly Island was used as a Union base a century and a half ago, and items leftover from the artillery battery built there are still scattered around the shoreline. The couple behind this latest discovery believes there are more waiting to be found.

Old cannonballs may look like cool artifacts to treasure hunters, but they should still be treated with caution. Police and bombs disposal technicians were called to the scene at Folly Beach to confirm the cannonballs were no longer functional.

[h/t WCSC]