SOMERSET, Ky. (WTVQ) – A missing Navy sailor is finally reunited with his family after 80 years.
On December 7, 1941, Floyd Helton of Somerset was aboard the USS Oklahoma when the ship was attacked by a Japanese aircraft.
Helton and 429 other crewmen were killed and for many, their remains went missing. In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed the unknown remains of the attacked ship in 2015.
Living relatives were then asked for DNA samples to find a match. Helton’s niece, Vicki Easley says in April 2020, he was ‘found.’
“I think my mother used the word miracle. On that day so many people were killed that they didn’t take time to decide who was who,” says Easley.
On Saturday, family, community members, veterans and navy sailors were part of a special procession in Sloan’s Valley Cemetery to give the the navy seaman a formal funeral. During the ceremony, navy sailors gifted his living half sister with a flag and closure after all these years.
“That was her fathers fondest wish that if anything was ever possible that he could be brought home that he would be and so mother fulfilled that promise to her father and we brought him home,” says Easley.
After all those years of hoping, Helton now rests next to his father in this Pulaski County cemetery. For families who have been living in limbo about a missing loved one, the Helton’s have some words of advice.
“Don’t give up hope..Don’t give up, especially with all the scientific breakthroughs that are going on all the time. Don’t give up,” encourages Easley.