Jim H. Johnston, a 23-year-old sailor, was named among the 429 servicemen killed aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma 75 years ago in the Pearl Harbor attack. But Johnston's remains were not identified till last year.
Today, Johnston will finally be laid to rest in his hometown of Wesson, Miss. And when his casket arrived in Atlanta early today on a Delta Air Lines flight, the Delta Honor Guard paid tribute to the fallen Navy veteran and his service.The Honor Guard is a group of employee volunteers who greet every airplane at the Atlanta airport that carries the remains of fallen military service men and women.
A brief, somber ceremony takes place. The casket is pulled from the aircraft while flags from all five U.S. military branches are displayed. A prayer is recited while the remains are secured to a special cart. Then a Delta Honor Guard coin is presented to the military escort or service member's next of kin.
Johnston, a Fireman 1st class, had been in the Navy about a year and a half when the Pearl Harbor attack took place, according to his hometown newspaper. Numerous fallen sailors from the Oklahoma were interred as unidentified. In 2015, the Defense Department facilitated a DNA match with Johnston family members.
Today, he will be buried with full military honors, 75 years after his death, noted Brian McConnell, coordinator of the Delta Honor Guard.
"I have done this job for 10-plus years now and have cared for over 4,800 fallen and I am still humbled and honored to care for these great men and women of the Greatest Generation," McConnell said.