West Virginia Navy Veteran identified through DNA testing laid to rest eighty years after attack on Pearl Harbor

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 11:44 PM EDT
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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Loved ones of Navy Veteran Donald Robert McCloud spent Saturday’s Armed Forces Day finally laying their loved one to rest.

McCloud, a Fire Controlman Second Class stationed on the U.S.S. Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor perished in the attack on December 7, 1941.

According to his obituary, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began a project in 2015 to try to identify the victims of the U.S.S. Oklahoma using DNA testing.

Relatives said the process started by getting samples of each victim’s oldest living relative.

DNA matched McCloud to his nephew, Fred in May 2021.

Fred said he was a toddler when his uncle Donald had been killed and only known of him in family stories.

“I had never met Donald in my life,” Fred said.

“The first I remember after Pearl Harbor, it had been around the kitchen table and the families were very upset about Pearl Harbor.”

Those few stories had been passed through generations of McCloud’s relatives.

“I’ve known just a few stories,” said Amanda Baisden, Donald McCloud’s grandniece, who now lives in Hurricane.

“I was always told that he went and actually got his feet worked on so he could be in the military.”

McCloud completed his navy service just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The obituary states McCloud had requested to extend his stay by a few weeks so he could reunite with a lifelong friend on December 6, 1941.

Less than a day later, McCloud, along with 428 crewmembers perished.

Though it’s taken decades to bring Donald’s remains home to West Virginia his family believes his story of sacrifice and American pride can still teach many valuable lessons today.

“He honestly made the ultimate sacrifice that a person could have for our freedom,” Baisden said. “I’m just really happy that he’s home where he belongs.”

“It’s so unfortunate that Pearl Harbor happened but as evidenced by the crowd here, it’s amazing,” Fred said.

“Friendship goes a long ways. and with our family and everything, we certainly appreciate everything that everyone has done the Navy, with their persistence, and following through with my DNA, they have located a good portion of the remains of Donald Robert McCloud.”

McCloud was later buried in Dingess at the McCloud family cemetery next to his parents.