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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers orders flags at half-staff for recently identified soldier killed at Pearl Harbor

1st Class Keefe R. Connolly (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency/Released)

Gov. Tony Evers has ordered flags across Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on Monday to honor a Wisconsin man who was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor but was not identified until this year.

The executive ordered signed by Evers on Friday commemorates Navy Hospital Apprentice 1st Class Keefe R. Connolly, of Markesan, who died aboard the USS Oklahoma after it was struck by Japanese aircraft at Ford Island, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Navy personnel recovered the remains of the 429 crewmen who died on the Oklahoma, and interred those unidentified at the National Memory Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu after the war.

In February of this year, Connolly was identified by investigators with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency who exhumed the unidentified remains from the attack in 2015.

Born on Oct. 26, 1918 in New Diggings, Connolly enlisted in the Navy in October 1937. After his death he received the Purple Heart, a military honor awarded to those killed or wounded in combat.

“I want to thank all the folks who have worked to ensure Navy Hospital Apprentice 1st Class Connolly was able to return home after all these years so he can be laid to rest in his home state,” Evers said in a statement. “We are thankful for his service and his sacrifice, and we hope this final journey brings peace to his memory.”

Connolly is set to be buried with military honors at a cemetery in Markesan on Monday.

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(c) 2021 The Wisconsin State Journal

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