Pearl Harbor Sailor Finally Laid to Rest
A funeral service was held in Fessenden for sailor 74 years after he gave his life serving his country
FESSENDEN, N.D., — After decades of unanswered questions, a Pearl Harbor sailor was finally identified and brought home.
“It’s a Saturday, the county fair is going on three miles from here, and there are hundreds of people out honoring a man they haven’t even seen a picture of until this week in the newspaper,” said Captain Duane Sand with the US Navy.
Navy Gunners Mate First Class Arthur Neuenschwander was assigned to USS Oklahoma where his ship was under attack at Pearl Harbor.
He fought in World War II, one of the biggest wars in recent history. His remains were left unidentified for 74 years. Now relatives, friends and fellow service men can honor the legacy he left behind.
“It’s just a wonderful celebration of the life of a man most people don’t know but died serving this country in the Navy,” said Sand.
“These guys gave their lives for the country and we need to honor them,” said Ross Johnson, Neuenschwander’s Nephew.
His remains were flown to Hector International Airport Wednesday, where he came home to a hero’s welcome.
“They had children on board and they were so happy that their children could experience recognizing a war hero coming back,” said Johnson.
After reading the letters he left behind, family members describe Neuenschwander as loyal and diligent. They hope his legacy will make an impact on the youth of today.
“I just hope some of the younger generation appreciates this,” said Johnson.
“There’s a lot of young people here, and it’s important for young people in our country to recognize the fact that freedom is not free as we said today,” said Sand.
While many paid respect to Neuenschwander, they also remember the other fallen shipmates who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“To honor those who have given the ultimate battle for their country and I just can’t say enough about that,” said Johnson.
“It’s also fulfilling a promise to our country and all service members to return them home,” said Sand.
His is one of many lives lost in the great attack, but more than seven decades later, his legacy is not forgotten.
After about 74 years of being buried near the West Coast, Neuenschwander’s remains will be placed next to his mother’s.