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Phoenix family 'honored' to bring back sailor nearly 80 years after Pearl Harbor attack

Lyal Savage.png
Posted at 3:05 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 00:08:00-04

PHOENIX — A sailor is finally home nearly 80 years after he was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Seaman 1st Class Lyal Savage died aboard the USS Oklahoma. He was 19 years old.

Savage was one of seven siblings that grew up on a farm in northern New York. Jean Bloom was three years younger than Lyal. She's now 96 years old and lives in Phoenix.

"We were pretty close," she said. "He was a great brother. We did everything together.”

Lyal enlisted in the Navy in 1940 when he was 18 years old.

“I guess it was pretty sad, because I sure did miss him," said Jean.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was one of the first battleships hit by Japanese air forces. Nine torpedoes hit the ship. In total, 429 sailors aboard were killed.

“I just expected him to come home because he always took care of me. For years I just expected he was going to all of a sudden appear," said Jean.

Nephew David Bloom worked with the Navy to identify his remains and bring him back.

"We lost somebody that we shouldn’t have really. Taken away from us too soon, and never got the pleasure of knowing him.”

“I hope it makes them proud, hope it makes them happy," said Bloom. “It’s an honor to be able to bring him home.”

There will be a burial service for Savage Saturday with full military honors. The Blooms had planned to attend, but as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, they didn't want to take the health risk.