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"Battleship Row" at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After 76 years, remains of Church of Christ member killed at Pearl Harbor identified

'Closure' finally comes for family of Henry Glenn Tipton, a U.S. Navy sailor.

For 76 years, the family of U.S. Navy sailor Henry Glenn Tipton — a Church of Christ member from Arkansas — prayed for answers.

Seaman 1st Class Henry Glenn Tipton

Seaman 1st Class Henry Glenn Tipton

Tipton, 20, was aboard the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

“I believe all prayers are answered,” said Ken Tipton, who was born in 1944 and never knew his late half-brother. “Thankfully, most don’t take 76 years before the answer comes.”

Finally, the answer in Glenn Tipton’s case came in recent months, said Ken Tipton, a member of the Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

DNA testing confirmed that the seaman first class was among the 2,402 U.S. deaths — including 402 on the capsized USS Oklahoma — on that “date which will live in infamy.”

Ken Tipton described his family’s decades of praying — and waiting — in a first-person article for Abundant Living, a publication of Harding University in Searcy, Ark.

“For more than 76 years, our family had prayed for closure,” Ken Tipton wrote. “Our basic communication had come in 1941 when the Navy sent word that Glenn was ‘missing in action’ and ‘presumed dead.’


“I later found a Baxter County Bulletin newspaper clipping from Feb. 11, 1944, stating that my father, Bill Tipton, had received the Purple Heart Medal that was awarded posthumously to his son, Glenn — my half-brother.”

Related: A heart for Hawaii

But Ken Tipton recalled that questions over what happened to his half-brother haunted his late father, who served as an elder of the Heber Springs Church of Christ in Arkansas in the 1960s. The sailor’s mother, Lilye Maxine Tipton, had died during a premature labor when he was 11.

“I personally recall the painful emotional outpouring as my father talked to me about Glenn,” Ken Tipton wrote in a personal account that he shared with The Christian Chronicle. “First, it was his fault because he should have tried to keep Glenn from joining the Navy.

On a medical form, U.S. Navy sailor Henry Glenn Tipton gave his religious affiliation as Church of Christ.

On a medical form, U.S. Navy sailor Henry Glenn Tipton gave his religious affiliation as Church of Christ.

“Then, what if Glenn jumped into the water and swam to safety, only to be captured later and tortured. What if he was in the death march to Bataan. What if he escaped and would someday come back home.

“No dog tags. No body. No closure. That was the kind of pain that he experienced.”

“No dog tags. No body. No closure. That was the kind of pain that he experienced.”

But in 2014, the Navy invited Ken Tipton to a meeting in Memphis, Tenn., of MIA service personnel. The intent of the meeting was to locate people whose DNA might match a set of remains from the “unknown” caskets in the “punch bowl” cemetery in Hawaii.

Family members of Glenn Tipton sent in DNA samples, and in February of this year, Ken Tipton was notified of the match.

Glenn Tipton’s remains are being returned from overseas. A military funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 8 at the Wings of Honor Museum in Walnut Ridge, Ark.


Filed under: military National Pearl Harbor Top Stories World War II

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