With an escort of around 150 veterans on motorcycles named the Patriot Guard, Jim H. Johnston’s remains were transported from Jackson-Evers International Airport to Riverwood Funeral Home in Brookhaven today. Along the I-55 route, several first responders and residents of Copiah County lined bridges, waving American flags and saluting the processional.
Johnston arrived at Riverwood around noon today . In the photo above, provided by Adam Northram, members of the Patriot Guard unload the casket that contains Johnstons’ remains while service members salute. His service at Wesson Cemetery is scheduled for 10:30 on Wednesday morning.
From an August 16, 2016 news release by Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Sailor Killed in World War II Accounted For
Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston, originally from Wesson and killed in the attack on the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, has now been accounted for.
The USS Oklahoma (BB-37) arrived in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1940, and spent the next several months participating in exercises and conducting patrols. On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, a fleet of Japanese carriers launched formations of dive bombers, torpedo planes and fighters against the vessels moored in the shallows of Pearl Harbor. The USS Oklahoma suffered 429 casualties as it quickly capsized due to damages sustained from multiple torpedoes. The majority of the casualties (Sailors and Marines) were never identified.
During efforts to salvage the vessel, Navy personnel collected a large number of remains representing as many as 400 individuals. Most of these were later buried as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency personnel exhumed these remains and as a result in advances in forensic and analytical capabilities, were able to identify Johnston.
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The remains of Johnston will be transported to Riverwood Family Funeral Services in Brookhaven after arriving at the airport in Jackson. His body will be escorted by the Patriot Guard and law officers to the funeral home.
A graveside service will be held at Wesson Cemetery on Wednesday, December 7, with interment following. Members of the American Legion Drane-Prine Post 79 in Wesson will be assisting.
Johnston has a great-nephew, Frank Sparks, his oldest living relative, who resides in Lucedale and cooperated with authorities to identify himself as Johnston’s next-of-kin.
The remains of Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston will arrive at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport around 10:19 a.m. on Tuesday, December 6. The Patriot Guard will escort him home via I-55 south to Riverwood Funeral Home in Brookhaven.
Citizens are asked to line the southbound overpasses of I-55 at approximately 11:30 a.m. starting in Crystal Springs all the way south to Mt. Zion Exit. Fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles will line the overpasses displaying American flags.
Johnston’s memorial service will be held in Wesson Cemetery at 10:30 a.m., with a full military graveside service conducted by a U. S. Navy chaplain. A flyover is scheduled for approximately 10:37.
Students of Wesson Attendance Center will gather in the parking lot as the procession passes by into the cemetery. Everyone who lives on, works on or owns a business along the Hwy. 51 route into Wesson is asked to display American flags, joining Wesson VFD and American Legion Socks for Heroes.