Body of McDonough County man killed in Pearl Harbor attack found, funeral services planned

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Funeral services are planned for a McDonough County man killed in the line of duty during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Robert Verdun Young was killed at the age of 23 on Dec. 7, 1941 while aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma.

Young was born Dec. 25, 1917 east of Good Hope. He graduated from Bushnell High School in 1935 where he moved to Harvard, Nebraska to work as a farmhand.

On July 17, 1941, Young enlisted in the United States Navy in Omaha.

At the time of his death, Young was a Seaman First Class.

Young received the Purple Heart on Jan., 27, 1944.

Earlier in 2018, Young’s body was found and recovered from the U.S.S. Oklahoma.


The following is the obituary and information regarding the memorial service for Young from Martin- Hollis Funeral Home:

“Robert Verdun Young, 23, was killed in action on December 7, 1941 aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma when it was attacked while docked in Pearl Harbor, HI. He was born December 25, 1917 east of Good Hope, IL to Charles and Ethel (Ealy) Young.

Robert left behind his parents Charles and Ethel Young; his siblings, Earnest Young, Albert Young, Lillian Jones, Ruth Haynes, Margeret Yocum, Daisy Swartzbaugh, and Mary Chasteen; and many nieces and nephews, including niece Claudette (Donald) Roach, and nephews, Cloyd “Duffy” (Diane) Yocum and Craig (Sheila) Yocum.

He graduated from Bushnell High School in 1935. After high school he worked as a farmhand in Harvard, NE. He then enlisted into the Navy on July 17, 1940 in Omaha, NE. At the time of his death he was a Seaman 1st Class. He received a Purple Heart on January 27, 1944. Earlier in 2018 Robert was recovered from the U.S.S. Oklahoma and will now be brought home and laid to rest.

Services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at the Bushnell Assembly of God Church, with Pastor David Hughes officiating. Interment will be in Bardolph Cemetery, with Full Military Rites. Memorials can be made to the VFW or Bushnell Assembly of God Missions. Martin-Hollis Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Please sign the guestbook and leave condolences at

The following is the media release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency:

”WASHINGTON— The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, accounted-for from World War II, are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.


Navy Seaman 1st Class Robert V. Young, 23, of Bushnell, Illinois, accounted for March 2, will be buried September 29 in Bardolph, Illinois. On Dec. 7, 1941, Young was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Young.


From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.


In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Young.


In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Young’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Systemused mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.


DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.


Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,794 (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Young’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.


For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at, find us on social media at or call (703) 699-1420/1169.”

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