RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The body of a sailor from Richmond who was killed nearly 80 years ago returned home to be buried Friday. Twenty-six-year-old Navy Fireman 1st Class Andrew Schmitz was one of the US service members killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The remains were positively identified in September 2019 using dental and anthropological analysis. Prior to the positive ID, Schmitz was classified as ‘still missing from WWII.’
Schmitz was one of 429 crew members who were killed when the USS Oklahoma capsized following the surprise Japanese attack in Hawaii.
As Schmitz’s body was being transported to his burial site, many groups waited along the route to honor the fallen sailor. Hundreds of people turned out to the Virginia Veterans Cemetery at Amelia for the service, including dozens of his extended family members.
Schmitz’s niece, Dale McClure, told 8News she was shocked when the Navy called in September. McClure is the sailor’s oldest living relative.
“Now I know what all other families are going through and how proud they are when their person comes home,” said McClure.
McClure received the flag that was draped over Schmitz’s casket on Friday. She tells 8News it will go on her mantle at home.
“My mother and my grandmother would be thrilled.”
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