The remains of the Corbin sailor killed in the Imperial Japanese Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 are scheduled to arrive in Corbin Thursday evening in preparation for his funeral on Saturday.
Motor Machinist’s Mate First Class Ulis C. Steely, whose remains were positively identified on Nov. 14, 2018, was one of 429 crewman of the battleship USS Oklahoma who were killed that day when at least five torpedoes struck the ship, capsizing it.
A number of the victims from the Oklahoma and other ships sunk or damaged in the attack were recovered from the harbor in the days following the attack. However it wasn’t until the Oklahoma was righted and refloated in 1943 that the remains of the crewmembers that went down with the ship were recovered.
Steely’s remains were among those recovered, but at the time positive identification of individual sailors and Marines was impossible. As a result, he was buried along with other unidentified victims of the attack in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.
In 2015, the remains of 46 Oklahoma unknowns were again exhumed for DNA analysis.
The plane carrying Steely’s remains is scheduled to arrive at Lexington’s Bluegrass Airport at 4:07 p.m.
Hart Funeral Home, who is arranging the funeral, will transport the remains from Lexington under escort by the Kentucky State Police and the Patriot Guard Riders.
Lue Cole of Hart Funeral Home said the procession will travel down Interstate 75 coming into Corbin from Exit 25.
Corbin Police will provide an escort through town with the Corbin Fire Department setting up its ladder truck to unfurl the flag.
Additional flags that typically adorn the lampposts on Main Street for Veterans Day and Memorial Day have been installed in preparation for Steely’s homecoming. It was made possible by the Corbin Lions Club.
The city has erected a banner in front of city hall denoting Steely’s service and sacrifice.
The procession will continue up Main Street to the funeral home.
Members of the Steely family and Corbin city officials are asking members of the community to come out and welcome Steely home Thursday night.
“We want him to have as big of a welcome home as he can get,” said Lorrie Steely, who is married to Ulis’ grandson, Dean.
“Let’s show this local Pearl Harbor sailor all the love and honor he deserves as he makes his final journey home,” said Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus in a Facebook post asking residents to come out to Corbin City Hall.
Visitation for Steely is scheduled for 5:30 until 8 p.m. Friday at Hart Funeral Home.
A procession from the funeral home to Grace on the Hill United Methodist Church will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Corinth Cemetery.
All of the services are open to the public.
Family members said previously that Ulis’ parents, Ed and Minnie, had a marker to memorialize him installed at the cemetery.
They are buried beside the marker and Ulis will be laid to rest there.
“If they are looking down, they have smiles on their faces,” said Coit Steely, Ulis’ nephew. “Uncle Ulis is finally coming home.”