Oklahoma native who died on USS Oklahoma returns home after 80 years

He was stationed onboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese aerial forces bombed the harbor, the impetus for the United States to enter World War II. Wise was one of 429 men onboard the USS Oklahoma who died in the attack.

Wise, who was 21 years old at the time, was one of hundreds of sailors at the base whose bodies couldn’t be immediately identified.

Following the attack, the Navy buried the bodies of deceased sailors from the USS Oklahoma in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries on the island of Oahu. Some sailors, including Wise, were later reburied in an area known as the “Punchbowl” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Wise’s remains were exhumed from the memorial cemetery in 2015 for analysis.

Personnel with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified Wise’s remains on Oct. 17, 2019, after examining his dental records and obtaining saliva from his sister, Eunice Wittum.

Wise was exhumed three different times before he was identified, his family said.

On Wednesday, he’ll be laid to rest for the last time. He’ll be buried alongside his parents in the Braman Cemetery, just 10 miles away from South Haven.

Bringing him home

During the Tuesday ceremony at the airport, members of the Wichita Navy Reserve presented Wise’s flag-draped casket to personnel with Roberts and Sons Funeral Home of Blackwell, the company overseeing Wise’s burial on Wednesday.

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