COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ensign Charles M. Stern, Jr. has finally returned home to Albany, nearly 80 years after he was killed at Pearl Harbor.
This, after scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System analyzed Y-chromosome DNA from his remains that were buried at the National Cemetary in Honolulu, known as the “Punchbowl.”
Stern was the first Albany resident killed in the event that triggered the formal U.S. involvement in World War II.
Three generations of Stern’s family were at the Albany International Airport to welcome him home, along with many local veterans and the Honor Guard.
When his casket, draped in an American flag, arrived at the airport, the guard saluted him as navy music played.
Charles Stern III grew up hearing about his uncle, who he is named after. He never thought he’d see the day that his uncle’s remains were brought home. Ensign Charles M. Stern, Jr. will be buried next to his parents, as the family had originally intended.
“My grandmother, in particular, really wanted this for the rest of her life,” Stern tells NEWS10ABC. “And he will be buried right next to where she is buried.”