Remains of local veteran killed in Pearl Harbor attack returned home for burial


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn (WJHL) – A Bluff City man who joined the Navy in 1940 and was killed in the attack at Pearl Harbor has had his body returned to his family after 80 years.

Paul Saylor was born to Rev. Samuel and Mary Saylor in Bluff City and moved to several locations around the region.

Saylor was one of the men onboard a battleship on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor on the day of the infamous attack by the Japanese.

The Navy’s official record of the attack says that torpedoes struck the USS Oklahoma which Saylor was on. Only 12 minutes later, the ship rolled over, trapping many sailors and forcing others to jump into oil-covered burning water. The Navy’s record says the ship took at least eight hits.

After the attack, 429 men were marked as missing. Many were recovered from the water, including Saylor’s body, but due to technological constraints at the time, they were unable to be identified. Until recently, his remains were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

With the advancement of technology, Saylor’s body was finally identified and able to be sent home.

Saylor will be buried Friday at Happy Valley Cemetery next to his mother and father.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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