Wausau Pilot & Review

U.S. and Wisconsin flags should be flown at half-staff Saturday, May 27, in honor of Navy Seaman Second Class David Joseph Riley, who lost his life in the attack on Pearl Harbor and whose remains have been identified and returned to Wisconsin for burial.

Gov. Tony Evers signed the order on Friday.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Navy Seaman Second Class David Joseph Riley of Juda, assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The remains of the deceased crew from the USS Oklahoma were first interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries and, after attempts at identification in 1947, were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began exhuming remains from the USS Oklahoma for analysis and identification, and in 2021, Seaman Second Class Riley’s remains were positively identified. Seaman Second Class Riley was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, the American Campaign Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. 

“The attack on Pearl Harbor changed the trajectory of World War II and our state and country, taking the lives of more than 50 Wisconsinites, including Navy Seaman Second Class Riley,” Evers said. “We are grateful for the effort to ensure that Navy Seaman Second Class Riley’s remains were returned so he can be laid to rest in Wisconsin. On behalf of his home state, we honor him for his service and sacrifice to this nation and the values we hold dear.”

Navy Seaman Second Class David Joseph Riley will be buried with full military honors in Juda on Sat., May 27, 2023.

Executive Order #202 will be in effect from sunrise to sunset on Sat., May 27, 2023, and is available here.