World War II veteran that died at Pearl Harbor laid to rest in Oklahoma

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MCLOUD, Okla. (KFOR) – World War II veteran Navy Fireman 1st Class James Cecil Webb was laid to rest in Dale Cemetery in McLoud on Wednesday.

After his remains were recovered, the military gave Webb’s family the choice of having him buried in the Arlington National Cemetery or the Punchbowl in Hawaii, but his family decided his final resting place should be in Oklahoma.

“I don’t know if I can pinpoint anything, except that’s what I would want,” Webb’s nephew, Bill Ashworth, said. “I believe at the time, if someone had asked him the day before the attack where he wanted to be buried, I think he would say back in Oklahoma.”

Webb’s family has a history of military service. One of his older brothers served in World War I, and a nephew also fought in World War II.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1940 and was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, a battleship that went down during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was originally listed as a survivor, days later it was discovered he didn’t make it.

Bill says he was seven when his uncle died, so he never got the chance to meet him.

“I didn’t know his first name was James until this. He was known as Cecil in our family,” Bill told KFOR. “There was not a whole lot of talk about it for a long time after.”

Although his nephew never met him, Bill couldn’t be more proud to finally celebrate his uncle’s life.

“I’m very honored to do this. I’m the oldest living relative of his that’s left,” Bill said. “That in itself has made it kind of difficult because there’s so much I don’t know about him.”

Webb’s remains were accounted for on July 29, 2019. He was just 23 years old when he died.

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