By BARBARA GREEN
Seventy-seven years after his death aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor, Navy Seaman 1st Class James C. Solomon, Montague County’s first casualty from World War II will finally be laid to rest in his hometown of Forestburg.
A funeral service for the seaman, including full military honors, will take place at 11 a.m. July 14 in Perryman Cemetery at Forestburg.
Solomon was originally interred in Hawaii where service members who could not be identified were buried as “unknowns.” He was officially accounted for on Sept. 26, 2017 following extensive testing based on DNA evidence.
On Dec. 7, 1941 Solomon was serving on the battleship USS Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The American fleet along Battleship Row was decimated in the surprise attack.
The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo attacks as the Japanese used dive bombers, fighter bombers and torpedo planes to sink nine ships including five battleships and severely damage 21 ships. There were 2,402 U.S. deaths from that attack and 429 were from the USS Oklahoma battleship.
While the crew attempted to fight back, during the first 10 minutes of the battle, eight torpedoes hit the ship and she began to capsize. A ninth torpedo would hit her as she sunk in the mud.
Meet this Forestburg High School graduate who left home to work with the Civilian Conservation Corps and later went into the Navy to serve his country one year before Pearl Harbor in your mid-week News.