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Burials set for sailors killed during Pearl Harbor attack

Service wreaths presented Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, as part of the ceremony for the 76th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack stand at the Pearl Harbor Visitor's Center, with the USS Arizona and USS Battleship Missouri memorials in the background.

WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: May 14, 2018

BATAVIA, Ill. — The families of two sailors with Illinois ties who were killed during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are preparing for their burials.

Military officials say DNA testing helped identify remains of the sailors who were among 429 killed when the USS Oklahoma sank.

The military says 20-year-old Gunner's Mate 2nd Class William Hellstern of Peoria, Illinois, will be buried Friday in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. A burial ceremony for Petty Officer 2nd Class Walter Howard Backman is planned for Memorial Day in the Chicago-area city of Batavia.

Carolyn Sellers tells The Beacon-News that relatives from seven states are expected as her uncle is buried near his parents. Backman was born in Wilton, North Dakota, to a farming family who moved to Aurora, Illinois, shortly after his Navy enlistment.

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