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Family fights Navy for return of Pearl Harbor remains

By Associated Press


GUILFORD, Conn. >> A Connecticut family wants the return of the remains of a family member killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 72 years ago.

The New Haven Register reports that Tom Gray is fighting the Navy to retrieve the remains of his second cousin, 3rd Class Fireman Edwin Hopkins. He and his family want to bury Hopkins in a family cemetery in Keene, N.H., his hometown.

Hopkins' remains were designated as unknown by the Navy and are buried in a casket in Hawaii with the remains of five other veterans. He was 19 when he was killed in the engine room on the USS Oklahoma.

The remains of five sailors were identified and returned to their families in 2002, Gray said.

"We want the same treatment for my cousin," he said.

Trying to return Hopkins' remains has been a "runaround," Gray said. The family was asked to submit a DNA sample as proof of relation, which was done, he said.

"The issue is the reasons keep changing," Gray said.

Gray said the Navy also claimed to "not want to disturb the sanctity of the graves."

"That's still the case," said Sarah Flaherty, a spokeswoman for the Navy. "The grave has been disturbed a number of times. We don't want to keep doing that."

To help families honor the war dead, plans for a USS Oklahoma memorial are in the works, she said.

"We are committed to creating an honorable memorial and ceremony that befits the service and sacrifice of those brave men," Flaherty said.

Gray rejected plans for a memorial for Hopkins.

"That's not something we want," he said. "He deserves better than this."

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localguy wrote:
What is with this? ""That's still the case," said Sarah Flaherty, a spokeswoman for the Navy. "The grave has been disturbed a number of times. We don't want to keep doing that." Sarah and the Navy are on shaky ground as they failed to mention how this is in violation of any approved standard? It isn't. Navy & DoD have the mission of returning identified remains to the family, required by law. Soon as the Navy quits trying to hunker down, the sooner this problem will be fixed. Can't believe the Navy had the gall to ask for a second DNA sample. What happened to the first one used to identify the remains? Do what ever is required for a quick return of the remains to the family. This is your job. Do it now or we will find someone else who can.
on November 4,2013 | 05:43AM
ryan02 wrote:
"The grave has been disturbed a number of times. We don't want to keep doing that." I don't get it. Doesn't the article say he was buried with 5 other unkowns who have since been identified and returned to their families? Doesn't that make Hopkins the last one? Who is left to "disturb"?
on November 4,2013 | 09:19AM
lowtone123 wrote:
I read the same thing. He was buried with five other veterans. The remains of five were return to thier families. He is the last one. Why is he not deserving of the same treatment?
on November 4,2013 | 12:28PM
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