Springfield man killed at Pearl Harbor in 1941, identified, will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery
On December 7, 1941 Seaman 1st Class James Ward, was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was torpedoed by the Japanese.
After the abandoned ship order was given, reports say the 20-year-old Ward stayed behind with a flashlight to guide many crew members off the ship as it sank.
A description of the account was provided by The Public Affairs Office, Navy Personnel Command:
"Hundreds of sailors dove overboard or climbed up the hull during the 12 minutes it took for the battleship to roll onto its side in the shallow water. Hundreds more inside the hull were plunged into darkness as their ship keeled over and filled with water. The order was given to abandon ship.
U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class James Richard Ward, 20, of Springfield, Ohio, was a gun crewmember in Turret No. 1, a 14” gun turret. He located a flashlight, remained at his post and used it to light the way for his shipmates escaping the doomed ship."
Ward became one of 429 men who died aboard the Oklahoma that day. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, for his actions in March of 1942.
However, his remains weren’t identified until August of 2021.
Ward was previously buried as an Unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii before his identification.
He will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in a ceremony on December 21.