Pearl Harbor veteran’s remains return home
Ralph Pearce was four years old when his family received a telegram that his uncle, southeast Kansas native Navy Seaman 2nd class Dale F. Pearce had died in the attacks on Pearl Harbor while aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma. The information essentially stopped there.
Of the sailors on the ship, 393 including Pearce remained unidentified deaths, their remains sent off to the American Graves Registration Services. It wasn’t until April of 2015 that the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued an order to get to the bottom of the identities of the downed sailors from nearly 75 years before. Pearce’s body was identified by matching his dental records to his remains.
“The old country boy hero, he’s being honored,” Ralph Pearce said of his uncle.
Pearce’s remains were brought in to Parsons with an escort by the American Legion Riders of Coffeyville (post 20).
“It’s an honor to do it, the family and the community, it’s amazing how people turn out. I always tell the family, they all say ‘thank you for doing this’ and I tell them it’s an honor for me to be able to do this and help them remember their loved one,” rider Rodney Robson said.
Pearce’s remains were flew in to Tulsa, where the legion riders met the hearse on the tarmac. They entered Parsons to a flag-lined Main Street, with children and adults alike lining the streets.
“Words don’t describe it, all the people up and down the road there,” Pearce said.
A Thursday afternoon funeral will take place at Faith United before Dale Pearce is buried in Dennis, a Kansas town just outside of Parsons. He will be buried next to his mother.
“He’s home now and there will be somebody in that spot there by his mother,” Pearce said.