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Veterans and other members of a Morristown assisted living facility were invited to fly in an open cockpit World War II plane Tuesday morning at Sussex Airport. 8/8/17
Michael Izzo

Funeral set for September

For more than three quarters of a century, a Mountain Lakes sailor killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor had been deemed Missing in Action, because his body could not be identified.

But 76 years later, DNA samples have confirmed William Manley Thompson was killed during the bombing of the U.S.S. Oklahoma, and he will soon be buried at his family’s plot and given the military funeral he deserves.

Thompson grew up on Lake Drive in Mountain Lakes and graduated from Morristown High School in the lake 1930s. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, before he enlisted in the  Navy.

At 21 years old, Thompson was aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941. He was among 429 killed on that ship, and more than 2,400 total Americans killed that day. He had been stationed on the ship for less than a month before the attack.

But Thompson was not among the few that were identified after their attack and his remains were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Thompson was declared Missing in Action, though newspaper clippings and letters from Morristown High School and Phi Delta Theta officials from that time confirm he was assumed to have been killed in the attack. Taps were played at the high school, and his passing was noted in the Mountain Lakes meeting minutes.

Nancy Rube is the…