How the remains of those killed are still being identified

OAHU, hello. (NEXSTAR) – The day that will live in infamy – December 7, 1941 – 2,403 American personnel were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eighty years later, many of those killed are finally returning home and being buried.

Among those who were killed were more than 1,700 aboard the USS Arizona, 103 aboard the USS California and nearly 430 aboard the USS Oklahoma. Following the attack, many of those killed could not be recovered from the ships they were on board. Others could not be identified but were buried in Hawaii. That changed decades after the attack as the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) worked to identify those killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

the defense department relies on DNA to identify remains, either supporting anthropological and archaeological analysis of recovered skeletal remains or as a primary means of identification. If the DOD lacks a reference sample of the missing person, it may use samples from family members.

After family members submit their DNA, the DOD uses this table to determine what type of donor the individual might be. There are relatives whose DNA cannot be used for mtDNA or nuclear DNA analysis, such as a soldier’s niece on his brother’s side, paternal aunt or grandfather maternal.

December 2, DPAA announced that 33 sailors from the USS Oklahoma were counted late October 2021. Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the remains of the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, or Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

Using historical and modern identification efforts, such as DNA, 396 of the 429 Sailors and Marines killed aboard the USS Oklahoma have been identified. According to the DPAA, laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence have established that the remains cannot be matched with individual sailors. These remains – 33 in total – are referred to as group remains, which will be buried at the Punchbowl December 7, 2021, the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

SLIDESHOW: Attack on Pearl Harbor

Among those identified using DNA analysis was a Navy firefighter 3rd Class William L. Barnett, who was 21 when he was killed aboard the battleship USS West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was one of 106 killed when the ship was hit by several torpedoes. A DPAA Fact Sheet shows that 79 remains of the USS West Virginia have been positively identified while the others remain unknown.

During the attack, 103 crew members of the USS California died. Among these, the DPAA reports 42 people buried as known remains and 40 others were positively identified during laboratory analysis. There are up to 25 burials of unknown remains possibly associated with the USS California, which means crew members from other ships in the area likely died aboard the USS California.

The remains of a sailor From the USS Arizona, Navy Radioman 2nd Class Floyd A. Wells, 24, of Cavalier, North Dakota, was identified among the remains associated with another ship, the USS Oklahoma. After the USS Arizona was hit by more than half a dozen aerial bombs, causing an explosion and a fire that burned for two days, 1,777 crew members were killed. The majority of them were never recovered from the wreckage. According to the DPAA, their remains are buried in the USS Arizona Memorial.

As of December 1, 2021, the DPAA reports that more than 81,600 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars or other conflicts. . Of these, over 41,000 are presumed lost at sea in events such as ship losses and known aircraft water losses. To consult the complete list of persons still missing, Click here.