ST. LUCAS, Iowa (AP) – The remains of a Navy chaplain have been returned to his home in Iowa nearly 75 years after he died during the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt was aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma when the Dec. 7, 1941, attack happened. The Telegraph Herald reports that Schmitt was among a group of sailors who discovered a small porthole as the ship was filling with water. Schmitt had the chance to escape but refused and hoisted others through the porthole and out to safety.
The battleship capsized within minutes, and Schmitt became the first chaplain killed during World War II. The Navy announced in September that Schmitt’s remains had been identified.
A visitation and remembrance was held for the chaplain Wednesday in his hometown of St. Lucas, Iowa. His burial will be held in Dubuque, Iowa, on Saturday.