A sailor from South Dakota who lost his life 80 years ago this December in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was laid to rest in his home state Monday in the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis..
Leeman R. Dill of Huron was among 429 crewmen who died when the battleship Oklahoma capsized after taking multiple torpedo hits from Japanese planes.
Remains were recovered during and after the war, but only 35 could be identified. The others, including Dill, were buried in Hawaii at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, commonly called “The Punchbowl.”
They and hundreds of other victims of the attack were classified for identity purposes as “non-recoverable” with no further efforts to identify them until 2015 when the Pentagon began a new program for DNA testing on remains from multiple wars.
Dill, an electrician’s mate 2nd-Class who’d been in the Navy for 3 years, was identified earlier this year through a DNA match with a niece who attended the ceremonies at the cemetery.