Sailor finally comes home, laid to rest in Baxter Springs

Joplin News First

Hadley Heavin served as a F1C on the USS West Virginia, and was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — A World War II sailor who was killed during the Pearl Harbor attack will be finally be laid to rest in his hometown due to DNA matching by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Hadley Heavin served as F1C (Fireman First Class) on the USS West Virginia, but was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. It was that attack that ushered the United States into World War II.

JOPLIN NEWS FIRST LIVE! VIDEO OF GRAVESIDE SERVICE AT BAXTER SPRINGS CEMETERY.

The West Virginia sank in shallow water that day and Heavin was one of 66 sailors who became entombed in the ship underwater. They were not entombed for long, it was refloated, then rebuilt to rejoin the Pacific Fleet for the remainder of the war. Heavin’s remains were interred at Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu, HI, as one of the 66 sailors who were unknown. His name was added to the list of the missing in action.

Fast forward to 2017, Heavin’s brother Charlie sent DNA to the Navy in a program where they work to match families of those missing in action. Charlie was a match to remains of an unknown sailor who was buried in Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii.

“On September 17, 2019, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified the remains of Fireman First Class Hadley Irvin Heavin, missing from World War II.”

US Navy Personnel Profile, F1C, Hadley Irvin Heavin

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly spoke at the Baxter Springs service. The procession left from First Christian Church, traveling north on Military Ave, passing by the Veterans Memorial on 13th in Baxter, then west out of town to Baxter Springs Cemetery.

Caledonia Lodge of Salina, Kansas, performed bagpipes. Caledonia #459, part of District 03C, is the only Masonic Lodge in Kansas with a Lodge Piper. They are also well known as an affinity lodge for pipers and drummers in the state. Click here to visit our instagram where we have a portion of their performance and other images and clips from the graveside service.

Just as Caledonia Lodge was performing the last portion of Amazing Grace, they turned and began walking north with the sound of their playing drowned out by the flyover by the Kansas Air National Guard.

FROM DERFELT FUNERAL HOME OBITUARY (click to read full)

On December 7, 1941, Hadley was on board his ship, the USS West Virginia, and was on duty when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His ship sustained multiple torpedo hits and sank to the harbor floor. Initially, 107 crewmen were accounted for. When the ship was finally salvaged, Navy personnel recovered the remains of at least 66 additional crewmen, including Hadley. These remains were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, HI. Hadley was awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrificial service to his country. Hadley’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for.  In September, 2019, after 78 years, Hadley’s remains were identified after his two remaining brothers, Charles (Frog) Heavin and Rex Heavin, provided DNA samples to find their brother.

USS WEST VIRGINIA, 1927. IMAGE: PUBLIC DOMAIN. U.S. NAVY.

USS WEST VIRGINIA LAY IN SHALLOW WATER

“USS West Virginia was moored in Battleship Row on the morning of 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II. Badly damaged by torpedoes, the ship sank in the shallow water but was later refloated and extensively rebuilt over the course of 1943 and into mid-1944. She returned to service in time for the Philippines Campaign, where she led the American line of battle at the Battle of Surigao Strait on the night of 24–25 October. There, she was one of the few American battleships to use her radar to acquire a target in the darkness, allowing her to engage a Japanese squadron in what was the final action between battleships in naval history.” – WIKI

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