COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A sailor who was killed aboard the USS Oklahoma in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 is finally returning home to be laid to rest.

Donald McCloud was one of the many unidentified sailors who were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu after the attack on Dec. 7, 1941. However, an effort by the Department of Defense is attempting to identify those sailors and return them home.

Donald McCloud.

One was McCloud, whose DNA was tested and connected to a relative’s match in Logan County, West Virginia. McCloud made the final journey home in Thursday in a casket draped in Old Glory, flying from Honolulu to Dallas then to Columbus where he was received by fellow sailors.

“It’s truly a surreal experience,” said Amanda Baisden, one of the only living relatives of McCloud. “Definitely a celebration of his life.”

Baisden never got to meet her great-grand Uncle, but she said stories have been passed down from generation to generation. McCloud was eager to join the Navy and serve his country, she said, and he had to overcome a foot issue.

“He got his feet worked on so he could be in the Navy and go over to Pearl Harbor,” she said. “I think there was two of his buddies that talked him into it.”

“It’s truly amazing to watch everybody come together and just for all of us to celebrate him coming home after 81 years,” Baisden continued. “We always went over and decorated his grave. My family has always expected him to come home. I’m happy for the family. I’m proud. I’m truly proud. He made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Ray Schwabe is a fellow Navy veteran. He served in the 1980s and early 1990s, and wanted to continue to support his fellow sailors. He decided to join the Patriot Guard of Ohio and serve as a Ride Captain. He’s taken hundreds of rides, but said every ride is special.

“This hero, after 81 years, is coming home in style. Society has evolved and there’s less and less respect for our veterans,” said Schwabe. “It’s more and more important for us to do what we do and make sure, let their loved ones know that their sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Schwabe said the support these families get is “invaluable,” because “it shows that there are people here that care about who petty officer McCloud was, and none of us knew him.”

“He’ll be buried beside his parents. Anderson and Old Ma’ is what we called her,” added Baisden.

A funeral for McCloud is being held on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Honaker Funeral Home in Logan County, West Virginia.