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    HomeUnited StatesU.S Navy'No Longer Unknown': Massachusetts Man Killed at Pearl Harbor Finally Comes Home

    ‘No Longer Unknown’: Massachusetts Man Killed at Pearl Harbor Finally Comes Home

    ‘No Longer Unknown': Massachusetts Man Killed at Pearl Harbor Finally Comes Home

    It had been a long time since Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class Merle Hillman had been in Holyoke, his hometown and the place where he spent his “growing up” years. Saturday, he came home.

    An outsized American flag waved in the breeze of a cold day, held up by two Holyoke Fire Department aerial ladder trucks at the entrance to St. Jerome Cemetery, signaling this was not an ordinary day. Hillman was home after 82 years in a cemetery under a stone that read “Unknown.”

    Merle Hillman was home to be among family.

    On Dec. 7, 1941, Hillman was aboard the USS California, a Tennessee-class battleship, as it lay at anchor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Shortly after 7 a.m. attacking Japanese planes dropped bombs and launched torpedoes at the ships lined up. The California took hits from two torpedoes and one bomb that penetrated the deck and exploded several levels down, causing damage that would eventually sink it to the bottom of Pearl Harbor. The Navy said 104 men aboard were killed, 20 of those were unrecognizable and unidentifiable. Their remains were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific as unknowns.

    In 2018, all 20 remains were disinterred and underwent DNA testing. Two women in the Hillman family, cousins Cheryl Quinn and Merle Korpi, were asked to submit samples of their DNA and between them a match was made. The unknown remains now had a name.

    Korpi is among the closest relatives Merle Hillman has left….

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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