MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Glaydon Iverson was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was hit by Japanese torpedoes in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Seventy-five-years later, his remains were returned to his family in a patriotic, plane-side ceremony Thursday.
Gary Iverson grew up knowing very little about his uncle’s sacrifice. Glaydon died five years before Gary was born.
“It was not talked about, quite frankly,” Gary said.
Now, a growing family has come to know the 24-year-old who left the tiny town of Emmons, Minnesota for new shores in the navy.
“He was a good-looking boy. Everyone loved him in town,” Gary said.
U.S. Navy Capt. Nathaniel Strandquist says the family received two telegrams.
“One saying that they couldn’t find him, and then one weeks later saying that he was presumed dead with all of his shipmates on the USS Oklahoma,” Strandquist said.
The Fireman 3rd Class was one of 429 on board who lost their lives in the surprise attack in 1941.
Glaydon Iverson’s remains were buried in Honolulu alongside other unidentified service members.
But the U.S. Department of Defense recently pushed for a DNA analysis, leading to the call that came just before Christmas.
“It was to let me know that his remains have been identified,” Gary said. “We all agreed without question that we wanted to bring him home.”
A bustling airport tarmac stood still for a brief moment as a new generation paid tribute to a fallen comrade. It was a powerful reminder of freedom’s price.
“Some of them knowingly going into battle,” Strandquist said. “And some of them as a fireman on a sleepy Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor on a ship not expecting anything.”
Glaydon Iverson will be laid to rest in the same place he left some 70 years ago.
“We have a plot right next to his dad, which is comforting, really,” Gary said.
Several different veterans group provided an escort for Glaydon for the 100-mile trip south from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Emmons.
His funeral will be held Saturday at Emmons Lutheran Church.
The remains of another Minnesota sailor who died in Pearl Harbor were also recently identified. They will return in August.