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Remains of Ellsworth County sailor killed at Pearl Harbor return home

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Nearly 80 years after his death, an Ellsworth County native who served his country returns home. Fireman First Class Walter Belt Jr. served in the U.S. Navy. He died at the age of 25 aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In an August news release, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Belt was accounted for on March 3.

This Saturday, Oct. 9, Bel will be buried in Ellsworth. In 2015, the Department of Defense began identifying the remains using new DNA technology. Since then, more than 300 USS Oklahoma sailors have been identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said The USS Oklahoma was attacked by Japanese aircraft and quickly capsize after sustaining multiple torpedo hits. The attack resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Bell.

“To identify Belt’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis,” the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency explained.

Copyright 2021 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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