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World War II sailor killed in attack at Pearl Harbor laid to rest nearly 80 years later

Published: Jun. 27, 2021 at 8:36 AM CDT
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ACKLEY, Iowa (KCRG) - A navy sailor killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor was laid to rest Saturday in his hometown of Ackley.

U.S. Navy Fireman First Class Leo Keninger was 20 years old when he was killed, serving on the battleship USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor, according to the POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Nearly 80 years later, he was honored with a military funeral. His remains were officially positively identified in 2019.

Dozens of family and community members gathered to celebrate Keninger’s life. One of his nieces, Martha Wallace, said she’s inspired by the support she saw on Saturday.

”I was so amazed at the number of people who came here and lined the highway, and the patriot guard, and all of the naval people who were here. And there was just so much respect and so much caring,” Wallace said.

The Elliot-Keninger American Legion in Ackley is named partially after Leo Keninger. He was the first county casualty in World War II.

“Today was just, totally beautiful. Everybody did such a good job. We’re so happy to have him back home with us,” Belva Keninger, another of Leo’s nieces, said.

Memorial donations may be made to ’'Retrieving Freedom’' for a Service Dog to be named ’'Leo.”

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