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Hundreds Gather in Holdingford To Pay Tribute to Pearl Harbor Navy Fireman Returned Home

07/31/2017 - 8:30 AM

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HOLDINGFORD, Minn. (AP) - A 22-year-old central Minnesota man killed in action at Pearl Harbor has been laid to rest at his family's grave site.

Hundreds turned out Saturday to pay tribute to Navy Fireman 1st Class Elmer Kerestes in Holdingford. Kerestes was buried with full military honors next to his parents at Highland Cemetery. A niece, Janet Klug, tells the St. Cloud Times that the burial brings "a sense of closure" to the family. Kerestes was one of the 429 crew members who died aboard the USS Oklahoma when Japanese torpedo planes capsized the battleship on Dec. 7, 1941.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense ordered the remains of the Oklahoma's 35 unidentified service members to be exhumed and analyzed using DNA evidence. The Navy used DNA to match Kerestes' remains.

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