‘He gave everything for his country’: Remains of Iowa sailor coming home 77 years later

UPDATE: Earlier this week, U.S. officials announced they found the remains of an Iowa sailor killed at Pearl Harbor. 

The lost sailor’s hometown of Monona is working to learn more on his history to give him the honorable resting place he deserves.

Hundreds of names are engraved into Monona’s Veterans Memorial. Soon, Navy Fireman 3rd Class Robert J. Bennett’s name will be added, 77 years after his death. 

It’s a big deal for the entire town, especially to members of AMVETS post #27 like Roger Bollman.

Bollman says, "We are excited and elated to see him return to the area and that his remains were finally identified after all of these years."

For decades, Bennett’s remains sat unidentified.

U.S. officials say he was aboard the USS Oklahoma when a Japanese aircraft attacked the battleship and other ships at the Honolulu base.

Bollman says, "He was an 18-year-old young man serving his country." He continued, "He gave his most, he gave everything for his country… and we are grateful for his return."

The town is on a mission to uncover Bennett’s history and possible relatives, so he can finally receive the honor he deserves. 

"All those years that he missed, we would be glad to honor him by burial rights and military rights when he does return," said Bollman.

KWWL has been searching all day for any records of Bennett.

The local high school has no record of him but the mayor’s office found his birth certificate. They say Bennett was born in town to Mryna and Jack Bennett.

His birthday was September 11, he would have been 95-years-old.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says Bennett’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the cemetery. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Original story: http://www.kwwl.com/story/39061406/2018/09/Monday/agency-says-iowa-native-identified-among-pearl-harbor-dead

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