Posted: 9/6/2008 1:02:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2008 1:04:57 AM EDT by KA3B]
Fair winds and following winds Shipmates.
Remains of 3 WWII sailors identified
By Tim Fought - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 5, 2008 8:08:47 EDT
PORTLAND, Ore. — Two-thirds of a century ago, Kathleen Wyman drove her brother to California to join the Navy. From there, he shipped out to the battleship Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor.
He never came home.
Ensign Eldon Wyman was 24 when he died in the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941. Along with hundreds of others, he was buried in mass graves, officially listed as unknowns.
But Thursday, the Pentagon announced that the remains of Eldon Wyman and two other sailors had been identified, and their remains would be returned to their families.
“I’m very grateful that there’s been such persistence in following up on this,” Kathleen Wyman said.
She’s known about the identification for a few weeks, and she’s known about the possibility of an identification for about four years. She plans to put her brother’s ashes in a niche next to their father and mother.
The attack on the Oklahoma left 429 sailors and Marines dead. Following the attack, 36 of these servicemen were identified and the remaining 393 were buried as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
The focus on Pearl Harbor remains has intensified in recent years through the research of one of the few survivors from the Oklahoma, Ray Emory.
As a result of Emory’s work, Kathleen Wyman gave a blood sample for DNA analysis, used by forensic anthropologists at a special military command along with other means, such as dental records, to identify the remains of her younger brother.
The Pentagon identified the other sailors as Ensign Irvin A.R. Thompson of Hudson County, N.J., and Fireman 2nd Class Lawrence Boxrucker of Dorchester, Wis. Boxrucker will be buried Saturday.
“I am thrilled to death. It is just kind of a relief to know he is home,” said 82-year-old Agnes Boxrucker, who was married to one of the sailor’s late cousins. “When the veterans service officer called me, I just went ecstatic. Wow.”
After her brother died, Kathleen Wyman quit a teaching job in Portland and enlisted as a member of the Navy WAVES. She was on active and reserve duty for 22 years, retiring as a lieutenant commander. In 1980, she retired as a teacher at Wilson High School.
Now 94, she remembers the times leading to war, and the years of the conflict.
“That was such as life-changing event for so many people,” she said. “That was a very important part of my life.”
DORCHESTER, Wis. - A U.S. Navy sailor from Dorchester is among three missing World War II servicemen who have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial.
The Department of Defense says Fireman 2nd Class Lawrence A. Boxrucker will be buried Saturday in Dorchester - nearly 77 years after he died when his battleship sunk in the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
"I am thrilled to death. It is just kind of a relief to know he is home," said 82-year-old Agnes Boxrucker of Owen, who was married to one of the sailor's late cousins. "When the veterans service officer called me, I just went ecstatic. Wow."
Hilda Boxrucker, 80, of Dorchester in northern Wisconsin, is married to the sailor's twin brother Louis, now 90 years old and suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Lawrence A. Boxrucker
DORCHESTER -- Lawrence A. Boxrucker, formerly of Dorchester, died Dec. 7, 1941, in a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His repatriated remains will be finally be laid to rest with full military honors at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008, in the Dorchester Memorial Cemetery. The Rev. Benjamin Franklin will conduct the committal services Saturday at the cemetery.
Lawrence was born Nov. 10, 1917, in the town of Little Black in Taylor County to John and Mary (Pueschner) Boxrucker. He attended Liberty country school in the town of Little Black until the eighth grade. After that, Lawrence worked at various farms in the area. Later, he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps at Jump River and Rhinelander.
Lawrence and his twin brother, Louis, headed west to Oregon in order to find work. No work was to be found, so they traveled to San Francisco, where Lawrence and his brother joined the U.S. Navy in 1940.
Lawrence and his brother were assigned to different positions in the Navy. Lawrence was stationed on the USS Oklahoma as a Fireman Second Class.
The USS Oklahoma was part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii. On Dec. 7, 1941, a fleet of Japanese carriers launched an air strike against the Pacific Fleet. Lawrence, along with 428 other sailors on board the USS Oklahoma, died that day.
Lawrence is survived by two brothers, Louis (Hilda) Boxrucker of Dorchester and Arthur (Celine) Boxrucker of Prairie du Chien. He is furthered survived by many nieces and nephews and other relatives and friends.
Lawrence's parents and his sister, Helen Langteau, are deceased.
Local veterans organizations wishing to attend the committal services at Dorchester Memorial Cemetery and pay their respects to their fallen comrade should contact Ken Patterson of the Boxrucker-Berry American Legion Post No. 519 of Stetsonville for further information.
Maurina-Schilling Funeral Home of Abbotsford is assisting the family with arrangements.
Eldon P. Wyman was born in Portland, Oregon on 11 January 1917. He attended the University of Oregon from 1936 to 1940 before he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman on 22 August 1940 at Portland. After training on the USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37), he accepted an appointment as midshipman in the Naval Reserve on 17 March 1941.
Attending the Naval Reserve Midshipman's School at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, Wyman was commissioned as an ensign on 12 June and reported to the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) on 19 July.
That battleship subsequently operated out of Pearl Harbor as a unit of Battleship Division 1 on exercises in the Hawaiian operating area and off the west coast as tensions increased in the Pacific and in the Far East.
By early December 1941, Wyman was serving as junior watch officer of the ship's "F" (fire control) division. Moored outboard of the USS Maryland (BB-46) during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma took four aerial torpedoes and rolled over at her berth; among those trapped within the ship's hull was Wyman.
The USS Wyman (DE-38), a destroyer escort, was named for Ensign Wyman.
More than seven decades after they shipped out, Navy Ensign Eldon Wyman is finally coming home.
Wyman was a junior officer on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Moored outside the USS Maryland along battleship row, the Oklahoma took three torpedo hits in the early moments of the battle, and the vessel began to capsize. Two more torpedoes struck the battleship as it turned turtle, trapping hundreds of men below deck.