Remains of Illinois veteran finally returned from Pearl Harbor after Navy used DNA to identify them


Last month, at a cemetery in a cornfield in southern Illinois, military honor guards fired in salute before the body of World War II veteran Keith Tipsord was lowered to the ground.

A fellow machinist, Chipsword was 22 when he died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Following the attack, his remains were never identified and were initially listed as missing until the Navy recently identified his remains through DNA.

He was five years old when he died and his sister, now 86, vaguely remembers a man in uniform who visited a small house in Moccasin, Illinois.

“My mother said she always expected the door to open and Keith to be there,” Sapp said. Well, now he finally has.

With his burial in November, Tipsord is one of dozens of Pearl Harbor veterans who have been identified and brought home to be reburied with their loved ones. With new DNA technology, Defense Prisoners of War and Missing Persons Accounting Office I was able to sort out the remains that had been unidentified for a long time.

During a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, Tipsward’s ship, USS West Virginia, was hit by torpedoes and bombs and sank. The explosion rendered the names of many victims unidentifiable.

They were buried in a mass grave and labeled “Unknown” in a cemetery located in a crater known as Punchbowl on Oahu.

In 2015, the federal government began matching the DNA and remains of missing or killed military personnel. The program has identified hundreds of missing servicemen around the world who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

U.S. Navy Chaplain Andy Richards waves after handing the U.S. flag to Keith Tipsward's sister, Darrin Sapp, at a funeral at Moccasin Cemetery in Southern Moccasin State, November 15, 2022. .
Sailors open fire at the funeral of World War II veteran Keith Tipsword at the Moccasin Cemetery in Downstate Moccasin.

Tipsward’s family lived in a small moccasin in Effingham County. Their home was only a mile from the cemetery, but it was long gone with only a silo left. The family still has a set of salt and pepper shakers that Hint Sword made on board the ship and brought back to his mother during a visit.

A Patriot Guard motorcycle group escorted Tipsword’s coffin from a military base in the St. Louis area to Effingham, Sapp said. Many members of local foreign war veterans, American Corps and disabled veterans attended. The sailor folded the American flag over the coffin and gave it to Tipsward’s sister.

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“It was very moving,” said Sapp, the news director for a local radio station.

Tipsword wasn’t the only Illinois veteran identified by DNA. The remains of Herbert Jacobson, 21, of Grays Lake, a northwestern suburb of North Carolina, were recently identified, and his family (some of whom now live in North Carolina) were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. chose to bury him in

According to his nephew Bradley McDonald, Jacobson had run a boat from the USS Oklahoma to the dock the night before the attack. After his shift, he turned in his report, got his food, and retired to sleep in his bunk. This is where he likely died when the ship was torpedoed, capsized and sank, trapping hundreds of men below decks.

Their bodies were not recovered until the ship was raised. He was identified in his 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed reburial. Jacobson said he was buried in Arlington in September.

McDonald’s father was a friend of Jacobson’s at the Great Lakes Naval Station boot camp north of Chicago. His father met Jacobson’s sister while visiting her home in Grayslake and eventually married her. They died without knowing what became of Jacobson’s remains. He said he was

Before Jacobson’s reburial, the family placed several mementos in his casket: a USS Oklahoma baseball cap, a perfume-scented handkerchief from Jacobson’s mother, and a photograph of the Grayslake home.

“I was overwhelmed,” McDonald said. “We have been waiting for this for a long time.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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