LEAGUE CITY

A League City resident is coming home, more than 77 years after leaving for the last time.

Residents and relatives will gather at 1 p.m. Saturday at the historic Fairview Cemetery in League City to lay to rest Navy Seaman 2nd Class Richard J. Thomson with full military honors, said Janet Thomson, his niece.

Though long included in a list of people missing after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Thomson was only recently identified by experts through DNA analysis as one of the 429 crewmen killed aboard the USS Oklahoma, according to officials with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was a surprise military strike against the U.S. Navy base in Honolulu, Hawaii, which killed about 2,400 people and injured another 1,100 people.

The next day, the United States officially entered World War II.

The Nevada-class battleship USS Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island, was struck by several torpedoes during the bombing and eventually capsized, leading to the deaths of 429 crewmen, according to the accounting agency.

Navy officials offered to bury Thomson at Arlington National Cemetery, but the family instead decided to let him return home to League City to be buried alongside his parents, James Thomson and Pearl Mitchell Thomson, his family said.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Thomsons spent years trying to bring back their son’s remains, the family said. James Thomson died in 1981 and Pearl Thomson died in 1990.

More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II died during the war, officials said. About 72,700 people are still unaccounted for — of which about 26,000 are considered possibly recoverable, officials said.

League City officials late last week announced plans to hold a reception at the same time as the funeral, inviting the city’s residents, to honor Thomson’s memory.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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