Nebraska Twins Killed at Pearl Harbor Get Funeral Nearly 78 Years Later

Aug. 8, 2019, 2:26 p.m. ·

"Battleship Row" after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37) is visible the foreground, behind is the USS Maryland (BB-46), and the USS West Virginia (BB-48) burns on the right. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)

Nebraska twin brothers who died at Pearl Harbor in 1941 are finally getting a funeral Saturday in Lincoln.

The Blitz brothers, Rudolph and Leo, went unidentified until DNA tests identified them recently.

Jeff Dee, commanding officer at the Navy Operational Support Center in Omaha, is organizing the funeral for the brothers and he said advancements in DNA testing made the funeral possible.

“After the family had been trying for years and years to get them identified and brought back home, this is sort of bringing the story to a close and getting closure on it," Dee said. "I think everyone was generally very happy and excited to be around for it, to be a part of it.”

Dee said he believes the Department of Defense started requesting DNA tests in 2003 in order to identify some of the soldiers. The twin brothers from Lincoln died during the capsizing of the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor along with 427 others. Dee said about three dozen have been identified.

The Blitz twins will get full military honors at their funeral Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery. The public is encouraged to attend.