Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Sept. 20, 2019

Pearl Harbor Sailor Laid to Rest in Kansas After 78 Years

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco Navy Public Affairs Support Activity (NPASE) Detachment Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Almost 78 years after he died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, Navy Seaman 2nd Class Wilbur Clayton Barrett was finally laid to rest Saturday in his hometown of El Dorado, Kansas.

Barrett was among 380 Sailors and Marines lost aboard the Nevada-class battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37) in the attack. Early Thursday afternoon, more than seven decades after his ship sank, Barrett’s remains were flown into Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. Reserve Sailors from Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Wichita conducted planeside honors amid wind and rain, while crewmembers from USS Wichita (LCS 13) attended as part of Wichita Navy Week.

“[Barrett] just came to Pearl Harbor to do a good job as a Sailor, just like all of us do,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Ryan King, USS Wichita command master chief. “He fought, and fought hard. Today we came here to honor his sacrifice, just like we do all of our service members that made the ultimate sacrifice like he did.”

At 25, Barrett left Kansas for the first time in 1940 to enlist in the Navy “to learn a trade,” according to his family. He served on board Oklahoma until the attack on Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,400 Americans. King said Barrett would have started a normal day on board the ship just like any other, until his life and the lives of all Americans changed forever in a few short minutes.

Barrett’s journey finally ended in El Dorado with more than 200 local residents, officials and veterans on hand – dozens of American flags flourishing in a late summer breeze. Barrett’s surviving family attended and shared stories about his last days before reporting to Hawaii, and the letters he wrote home.

"Talking to Seaman Barrett's family, I learned something wonderful about his life – he was in love,” said Lt. John Stevens, from the Navy Office of Community Outreach. “He wrote letters home, which his family donated to the local museum, and one of which talked about meeting someone in San Francisco. They had the time of their lives, blew all their money, and planned to get married after his tour on board Oklahoma.”

Stevens added Barrett’s relatives are convinced his girlfriend wrote his final letter for him, as the handwriting and structure was different from his others.

“His plans were tragically cut short, so it’s bittersweet, but the impression it left on his family was that he got to experience love,” said Stevens.

"Sailors – all service members – they deserve the same honors,” said King, “and Seaman Barrett deserved his honors."

Barrett’s repatriation was one of more than 100 events in which Navy units participated Sept. 9-15 during Wichita Navy Week, one of 14 planned by the Navy Office of Community Outreach in 2019. Navy Weeks focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city to bring America’s Navy closer to the people it protects.


Like Us
Follow Us



Miguel Keith, Charleston, Chief Conduct Exercise Noble Vanguard in the Indo-Pacific
Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 conduct fast rope training from a MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, Detachment 6 on to The Independence variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) during Noble Vanguard. Noble Vanguard serves as an enabler to reinforce tactics and techniques of different mission sets that contribute to regional stability.
May 24, 2022 - SEA OF JAPAN - Ships assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 participated in integrated mine-countermeasure training exercise Noble Vanguard May 12 to 21.Noble Vanguard marks the first time the expeditionary sea base...

USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launch
May 24, 2022 - CAMP H.M, SMITH, Hawaii -- We are aware of the multiple DPRK ballistic missile launches today and are assessing and consulting closely with our allies and partners. While this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S...

U.S. Navy Formally Hands Over Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy
Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative:  U.S. Navy Formally Hands Over Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy
May 24, 2022 - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Thailand -- Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas presided over a ceremony to officially hand over the RQ-21A Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy on May 24. The RQ-21A...

White House Statement & Fact Sheet on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity
Statement on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity
May 24, 2022 - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Australia -- We, the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam of the...

Ebeye Elementary School Students Visit Majuro with Atoll Community Support
Chaperones and fifth-grade students from Ebeye Public Elementary School stand for a photo with members of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Nitijela during their March Spring Break trip to the national capitol of the RMI.
May 24, 2022 - Republic of the Marshall Islands -- Students in the fifth grade at Ebeye Public Elementary School made an educational trip to Majuro in March 2022 with special assistance from the Ebeye, Majuro and Kwajalein communities.The...