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'He deserves the honor' | More than 80 years after Pearl Harbor attacks, Navy sailor from Albemarle brought home

Seaman 1st Class Edward Talbert was only 19 when he died during the Pearl Harbor attacks.

ALBEMARLE, N.C. — In 1941, Japan attacked the United States Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  The United States estimates about 2,400 service members were killed that day. 

Saturday morning, after 81 years, a sailor was returned home to Albemarle, North Carolina to be laid to rest. 

Seaman 1st Class Edward Talbert was only 19 when he died during the Pearl Harbor attacks. He volunteered to join the Navy and was stationed on the battleship USS Oklahoma. 

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"He was one of 429 sailors that died that day on the Oklahoma, and out of that only 32 of the 429 were able to be identified," said Rear Admiral Terry Eddinger, the U.S. Navy Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters. 

Instead of coming home to his family, Talbert was buried with hundreds of others in Hawaii. 

That was, until Michael Crisco got a call from the Navy to submit his DNA in 2013, to help identify the uncle he never met. 

"It was not until 2021 that they called me and said they have identified Edward Talbert, my uncle, and they want to bring him home," said Crisco.

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Hundreds of family and community members welcomed Talbert back to Albemarle in a ceremony and memorial service. 

"We're happy to be here today, brought him home, rest in peace," Crisco said. "I just, you know, wish my mother was seeing all this but I know she's out there looking down. Yeah, so everybody's happy." 

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The Navy is still working to identify and bring home service members who died during the attacks. 

"We need to honor them. They deserve it. He died serving this country. He deserves the honor," Eddinger said.

Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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