Remains of twin service members killed in Pearl Harbor attack returned to family in Nebraska

Remains of twin service members killed in Pearl Harbor attack returned to family in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN)- Rudolph and Leo Blitz were only 17 when they enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

They were just 20 when they died in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The twins enlisted together, and now years after their death, they return home together, to Lincoln Memorial cemetery in Nebraska.

“They (family) got the wire that they were missing in action about 6:30 on Christmas Eve, 1941,” said Sandra Cox, a niece.

It’s been 78 years of not knowing since then.

“It’s been a chapter that didn’t have an end, and now it does,” said Cox.

Rudolph and Leo were aboard the USS Oklahoma.

One brother was a fireman, the other was a machinist.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the family got a letter from a shipmate that knew the Blitz bothers.

According to family members the letter said, "I was with him and then he was gone. When they told us to evacuate, he said I’m not leaving without my brother.”

The two were buried in Hawaii until the USS Oklahoma Remains Preservation Project started.

The project works with the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to exhume and identify unknown remains from the USS Oklahoma.

“It was really exciting to be able to identify both of them,” said Carrie LeGarde, a Forensic Anthropologist of the USS Oklahoma Remains Preservation Project.

Family members say they overjoyed to know the Blitz twins are finally home. “They were brothers to the end,” Cox said.

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