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3 Iowans killed in WWII to be laid to rest back home

Harry-Hichols-Pearl-Harbor-sailor

IOWA — Flags will fly at half staff in Iowa on Friday and Saturday as two Iowa shipmates killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor are laid to rest in their hometowns. Later this summer a third Iowan killed in the Pacific theater of the war will return home as well, 80 years after his passing.

On Friday, Petty Officer Harry Nichols is being buried in his hometown of Sioux City. Nichols was 21-years-old on December 7th, 1941 when Japanese forces attacked US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Oklahoma was capsized after taking multiple torpedo hits. 429 crewmen were killed in the attack.

Nichols’ shipmate and fellow Iowan, David Tidball, is returning home as well to be laid rest on Saturday in his hometown of Independence. Tidball was just 20-years-old when the Oklahoma was sank.

Remains of soldiers killed in the attack were initially buried in Hawaiian cemeteries for 3 years before being disinterred in 1944. When the government was still unable to identify the men’s remains, they were reburied in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In 2015 their remains were disinterred again and positive DNA matches were made to confirm their identities.

Governor Reynolds has asked that flags be lowered to half-staff on Friday and Saturday in honor of the sacrifices of Harry Nichols and David Tidball.

Later this summer a third Iowan killed in World War Two will return home to be buried as well.

22-year-old Merl Holm of Lake City was reported killed in action in present-day Papua New Guinea on November 26th, 1942. In 1948, the remains of American soldiers killed in that area were recovered by the US military and buried in a national cemetery in the Philippines. In 2017, the remains of unknown soldiers in the cemetery were disinterred and a positive match was made to Holm just last month. He will be buried in his hometown of Lake City on July 9th, 2022.

Holm was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

According to the National Archives, 262,638 Iowans served during World War II; 8,398 Iowans died during the war.

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