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1 of 2 Nebraska cousins killed in Pearl Harbor attack coming home

Gerald and Robert Clayton bonded as tightly as two cousins can, growing up side-by-side on farms in Depression-era Nebraska.

The boys were the same age, handsome and outgoing. They palled around together at Central City High School, where they starred in football and basketball. They romanced local girls. They met pro wrestling stars, brought to the small town by their uncle, Max Clayton, an Omaha ring promoter.

Even after Robert’s father accepted an oil-industry job and moved his family to Long Beach, California, in 1937 — just before his senior year — Jerry and Bob stayed close with newsy letters back and forth. After they graduated the following year, both joined the Navy.

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