Remains of Kansas sailor killed at Pearl Harbor return home

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

A service member from El Dorado who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 will be buried this weekend. 

The skies opened up over Wichita Eisenhower Airport on Thursday and service members waited in silence for a homecoming more than 75 years in the making. 

"Today we're rendering planeside honors for a shipmate, a sailor who served his country in World War II, who was killed in the Pearl Harbor attacks," said Lt. John Stevens with the U.S. Navy.

At 25 years old, Wilbur Clayton Barrett left his hometown for the first time. The year was 1940 and he had joined the Navy. 

"He just came there to do a good job as a sailor, just like all of us do," said Ryan King, USS Wichita Command Master Chief. "And he fought, and he fought hard."

Barrett went straight to the Pacific, and no one predicted what would happen on December 7, 1941, just a year and a half into his service.

"He was going about his normal morning routine, and then all of a sudden, his life, and 380 other sailors on USS Oklahoma and really everyone's lives in America changed in just a few short minutes," Lt. Stevens said. "He was one of the sailors who went to the bottom with USS Oklahoma, and we're just so blessed we've been able to identify him and to bring him home."

This Saturday morning, Seaman Barrett will finally be laid to rest with full military honors at Sunset Lawns Cemetery in El Dorado. 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE