JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Delta flight arrived at the Jackson airport on Friday carrying some precious cargo. Navy Seaman First Class Richard Leon Watson is on his way home to his final resting place in Louisiana.
On December 7, 1941, Watson was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Pearl Harbor when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Watson.
Watson was met in Jackson by a Navy Honor Guard to take his casket from the plane to the hearse. From there he was escorted home by a line of law enforcement and Patriot Guard Riders.
“It’ s important for us to honor those who have served and paid the ultimate price for our safety and our security and for us to enjoy the freedoms that we now enjoy,” said Yolanda Clay-Moore, spokeswoman for the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.
To identify Watson’s remains, scientists used mitochondrial DNA analysis and dental records. Watson’s name is recorded on the “Walls of the Missing” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
He is now being taken by an escort that includes Patriot Guard Riders to his final resting place in Bonita, Louisiana.