Recently Identified Minnesota Sailor Who Died at Pearl Harbor Laid to Rest at Fort Snelling

May 12, 2018 06:40 PM

(KSTP) -- A Minnesota sailor is laid to rest more than seven decades after he was killed at Pearl Harbor fighting in World War II. Quentin Gifford of Mankato died aboard the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941. 

Saturday was bittersweet for loved ones of Gifford, the Navy radioman second class. His brother Harold, remembers the very day he heard on the radio there was an attack on Pearl Harbor.
"We were very concerned because my brother Quentin was stationed at Pearl Harbor," Harold Gifford, Quentin's brother, said.


But his family prayed and kept hope for two weeks.

"Our hearts were enveloped in sorrow and fear," Gifford said. 

Then they got word, that their 22-year-old son and brother was unaccounted for.

"He meant a lot to me and I was very sad and I went to my room and put my face in my pillow and cried," Gifford said. 

For over 74 years, his family accepted Gifford was gone, but they still had questions.

"We had even hoped that someday we might hear from him personally," Gifford said. 

His remains were unidentified, buried at a cemetery in Hawaii. But thanks to DNA testing, last year Gifford's remains were identified and he returned home to family on Friday. What followed was a proper send off to honor his life.

"I'd like to thank each and every one of you that have had a part in this celebration of Quentin's life and his memory," Gifford said. 

Now buried with full military honors at Fort Snelling, Gifford is the fourth recently identified Minnesota sailor serving aboard the USS Oklahoma to return home.

A fifth recently identified Minnesota sailor is expected to return home later this year. All were serving aboard the USS Oklahoma.


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