MADISON (NBC 26) — Gov. Tony Evers has ordered state and U.S. flags to fly at half-staff in honor of three New London brothers who were killed in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.
The governor's office said flags will be lowered Saturday as a tribute to the Barber Brothers: Fireman First Class Malcom J. Barber, Fireman First Class Leroy K. Barber and Fireman Second Class Randolph H. Barber of the United States Navy.
The brothers were killed aboard the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. The ship, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, was attacked by Japanese aircraft and sustained multiple torpedo hits that quickly capsized the boat, resulting in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including the Barber brothers.
Remains of the USS Oklahoma crew were recovered between 1941 and 1944 and unidentified remains were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Among the unidentified remains were the Barber brothers.
According to the governor's office, in 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns for scientific analysis and possible identification, at which time, the DPAA laboratory identified the brothers. The Barber brothers' remains were accounted for on June 11, 2021.
While Gov. Evers will also issue an order for flags to be flown half-staff for the anniversary of 9/11, which also falls on Saturday this year, the governor's office said he felt it was important to specifically honor the Barber brothers and their return.
The Barber brothers will be laid to rest with full military honors at Most Precious Blood Cemetery in New London on Saturday.