Military honor guard to escort Wanamie seaman home

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
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ASHLEY — A full military honor guard will escort the remains of Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward F. Slapikas home after 77 years.

Slapikas, 26, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The attack prompted America’s entry into World War II.

Funeral services will be held Saturday for the Wanamie native who was killed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

According to Deborah Strish-Katra, the funeral director handling Slapikas’ funeral, she will meet the plane carrying Slapikas’ remains at the Harrisburg International Airport at 5:50 p.m. Friday and he will be given a full military honors escort to the funeral home at 105 North Main St., Ashley.

The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Slapikas.

His remains were finally identified through DNA testing last year.

The seaman’s only known survivors are his niece, Leona Hotko, of Kingston, and nephew Frank Slapikas and his wife, Barbara, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. They are expected to attend Saturday’s services.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Holy Spirit/St. Adalbert’s Parish, 31 S. Market St., Glen Lyon, with the Rev. Louis Kaminski officiating. Interment and full military services will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Wanamie.

A full obituary for Seaman Slapikas appears on Page 4A of today’s edition.

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By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]