Flags Half-Staff Friday for Fallen Iowan from Pearl Harbor
[UPDATE: KWWL reports that in addition to Seaman First Class David F. Tidball's return home to his native Independence for burial this weekend, Navy Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols will be returned Friday to his hometown of Sioux City. At the order of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, flags across the state will be flown half-staff in honor of fallen Pearl Harbor hero Nichols on Friday, May 13, with his funeral services taking place at 11 a.m. KCRG reports the same is being done in honor of Sn. Tidball]
[ORIGINAL STORY, April 7, 2022, 4:55 p.m.] An Iowa native killed in the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 is coming home, over 80 years later. Navy Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols, 21, of Sioux City was aboard the USS Oklahoma at Ford Island when, according to KCRG, it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on December 7th, 1941.
Siouxland News reports that Nichols's remains went unidentified until 2019, having been buried in a mass grave among several hundred other sailors. It was his nephew who sent in a DNA sample for analysis in 2018, and a year later, Harry Nichols was identified. The pandemic delayed a proper, formal funeral for Nichols--until now.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Storekeeper Third Class Nichols, who entered the U.S. Navy from Iowa, served aboard the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and was on the ship during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. He was killed in the attack, and while his remains were recovered from the ship, they could not be identified following the incident. He was buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In 2015, advances in forensic techniques prompted the reexamination and eventual identification of SK3 Nichols' remains.
The Daily Nonpareil had a story saying that this American hero from Iowa, soon to be buried in his hometown, will be laid to rest next to his parents, Ernest and Florence Nichols, as well as his brother, Norman Nichols.
Harry Nichols was the second of three siblings in his family, with his brother Norman also serving in World War II, returning to Sioux City following the war. Later, Norman moved to California. Their sister Betty moved to Arizona. Both died before being able to see Harry identified and brought home for burial.
Harry Nichols has a living nephew, Mark, now 70, who upon hearing the news of his uncle's return home said "I was excited as well as just kind of shocked." Nancy Eischeid is Harry Nichols' niece, currently living in Cleveland, Tennessee. They will now be able to have their hero buried in his hometown, rather than Pearl Harbor or Arlington National Cemetery.
To the loved ones of the late Harry Ernest Nichols, we say thank you for your service and sacrifice and we send our condolences for your loss.