Gov. Doug Burgum tonight joined military veterans, active duty servicemembers, community members and relatives of U.S. Navy Radioman 2nd Class Floyd A. Wells to honor the Cavalier native as his remains were returned to North Dakota nearly 78 years after he died at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Wells was aboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Navy fleet docked at Pearl Harbor. The attack resulted in the deaths of 1,177 crewmen of the USS Arizona. The majority were never recovered from the wreckage and are entombed in the USS Arizona Memorial, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
Wells’ remains were recovered but not identified, and he was interred as an unknown servicemember at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The DPAA recently identified his remains, which were returned tonight to Hector International Airport in Fargo.
“For many relatives of the 2,403 service members and civilians who died at Pearl Harbor, the ‘date that will live in infamy’ led to decades of agonizing uncertainty, facing each day without knowing the fate of their loved ones,” Burgum said. “We deeply appreciate the DPAA for honoring the legacy of Floyd Wells by bringing him home to North Dakota, where his service and sacrifice will always be remembered with everlasting gratitude and respect.”
Wells will be interred with full military honors during a formal ceremony at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery near Mandan.