SALT LAKE CITY — Eight decades later, the family of a Utah sailor killed during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor are finally able to say a proper goodbye.
The remains of Navy Radioman 3rd Class Theodore Q. Jensen, 22, of Delta arrived in Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon. Jensen was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941.
The attack killed 429 crewmen aboard the battleship, including Jensen. Jensen was buried with the other soldiers and sailors.
It was an emotional day, Jensen’s nephew said.
“It is unbelievable. Just unbelievable that they can bring him home,” said John B. Jensen.
Dozens of family members, Navy Service Members and Patriot Riders joined together as Jensen’s remains were flown in.
“When I first heard the news that they were bringing him home, I thought it was a scam,” Jensen’s niece Sharon Senecal said.
The Navy started exhuming and identifying sailors who were killed at Pearl Harbor in 2015. Five years later, using dental and anthropological analysis on unknown remains, officials were finally able to identify Jensen.
“My nephew, Kevin Hayward, did the DNA and so they matched the DNA perfectly,” Senecal said.
The family is overwhelmed to finally see Jensen come home.
“It is unreal, you can’t believe it is happening. Just can’t wake up, it feels like a dream,” the sailor's nephew said.
His remains were taken back to Delta where he will be laid to rest Wednesday.