MANDAN, N.D. — The remains of a Navy sailor who was killed during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor have been identified and will be returned to his home state of North Dakota.
Navy Fireman 2nd Class Albert Renner was assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia that was hit by two bombs and at least seven torpedoes from Japanese airplanes on Dec. 7, 1941. The 24-year-old was killed along with 105 other crewmen.
The sailor’s remains are expected to arrive in North Dakota next week under a full military escort. The military is covering nearly all costs associated with the funeral.
He was among the 429 crewmembers killed when the battleship capsized after being hit by aerial torpedoes during the raid on military installations in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941.
The Navy is working to find and identify the remains of unknown soldiers from Pearl Harbor that were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. More than 78 years later it was able to get in contact with Renner’s oldest living sibling.
“Well, I was shocked,” Dennis Renner, 70, told The Bismarck Tribune. He said his father had given DNA to the military in the mid-1990s with hopes of helping identify his late brother’s remains, but they were never contacted until recently.
“I think it’s a pretty amazing feat that the Navy was able to identify the remains, and then, that they bring them back here to the United States,” cousin Allan Renner said. “It’s a pretty special occasion.”
Dennis Renner was also impressed by the Navy’s dedication in identifying an unknown sailor’s remains long after his death.
“It’s humbling that the government, after all these years, would go through all this work to do this. That’s remarkable,” he said. “They’ll bring everybody home.”