MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly 80 years after he was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Minnesota sailor is back in his home state.
The remains of Navy Fireman 1st Class Neal K. Todd of Akeley arrived at MSP International Airport Thursday afternoon. Dozens of his family members were there for the transfer ceremony.
Todd was one of 429 sailors killed on the USS Oklahoma. His remains were recovered, but were buried in Hawaii because they could not be positively identified — until 2015, when scientists used multiple advanced DNA tests.
His family was told in March of this year.
His brother Orville Staffenhagen, overcome by emotion at times, said they had given up hope, but are now proud to have him come home.
“He was one of a kind. He was the friendliest man in the world. The easiest to get along with anyone. A very, very nice young man,” Staffenhagen said. “It’s wonderful, I tear up.”
Todd will be buried Saturday in his hometown of Akeley.
He was 22 years old when he was killed, and one of eight brothers to serve his country. His brother Wesley also served on the Oklahoma, but was rescued after the attack.