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Iowa History Daily: December 7 - Finally Home from Pearl Harbor

Iowa History Daily: On December 7, 1941, 2,390 American armed services personnel died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Of Iowans killed in the attack, two came home in 2022 for burial in Iowa cemeteries thanks to advances in DNA testing.

Petty Officer Harry Nichols grew up in Sioux City and attended East High School. After graduation he signed up for the United States Navy and served initially as a Storekeeper Third Class. Aboard the USS Oklahoma on the infamous morning of December 7, Nichols died with 429 of his crewmates when the ship capsized after taking multiple torpedo hits. After DNA testing allowed for positive identification of his remains, Sioux Citians laid Nichols to rest when he finally came home in 2022.

Seaman First Class David Tidball of Independence also found himself aboard the Oklahoma. An Eagle Scout and member of the Independence High School Band, Tidball enlisted at Dubuque in July 1940 before heading off the the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Assigned to the USS Oklahoma, Tidball headed to Hawaii. Also identified decades after initial burial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Seaman Tidball came home to Independence in 2022.

Both Nichols and Tidball received full-military honors upon reburial at their respective local cemeteries. Along with roughly three hundred other previously unidentified soldiers buried after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the DNA identification project starting in 2019 has helped to finally lay many veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice on ‘a day which will live in infamy’ to rest. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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