WWII Kansas veteran laid to rest over 80 years later

Seaman Second Class Pete Turk was buried at Kansas Veterans Cemetery
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Seaman Second Class Pete Turk was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His remains were previously unidentified in Hawaii, but now he is back in Kansas.

Originally from Scammon Kansas, Seaman Turk now lies in the Kansas Veterans Cemetery in Manhattan, Kansas. His family says they are happy to see him back home.

“When they asked me, when they found him they said ‘what would I want to do with him,’ and I said bring him home,” said Carmen Eakes, Turk’s niece. “Bring him to Kansas. So they did and I know everybody is happy that he’s here.”

Seaman Turk was one of 104 sailors and marines to be killed aboard the USS California after being attacked by the Japanese in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In 2018, the Defense POW Accounting Agency began reexamining unidentified remains from the USS California. Turk is one of over 20 unidentified remains and on October 1st of last year he became the first one identified.

Turk’s great nephew John Eakes said it’s honor to see him back home.

“My great grandad, so you know that was part of history, I grew up with John Turk when I was younger,” said John Eakes. “So it was, it was quite an honor to have his son come back. We’ve been to Hawaii several times and have seen the Arizona and the memorial so it was pretty cool. Now we know he’s home.”

The crowd was mostly filled with veterans from every branch here to celebrate the life of their colleague in service. Will Ravenstein is with the Kansas American Legion Riders Post 45 out of Junction City.

“We’re veterans, we’ve all served and we put on the uniform, we swore an oath to defend the constitution to defend this nation,” said Ravenstein. “So to come back and honor a veteran who has fallen is just like a family reunion. I hate to say it that way, but we take care of our own in uniform.”

The Department of Defense Accounting Agency continues to reexamine nearly 20 of the still unidentified remains from the USS California so there is hope for other families looking for closure.