Remains of Pearl Harbor attack victims will be exhumed in a process to identify some of the 388 unaccounted for sailors and Marines who died on December 7, 1941. This decision has come from the Pentagaon, KATC 3 News reports. The Department of Defense plans to exhume the remains of those associated with the USS Oklahoma later this year.
Four hundred and twenty-nine sailors and Marines were killed at Pearl Harbor when Japan attacked the ship with torpedoes and sank the Naval vessel. According to the report, remains will be examined at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory in Hawaii.
According to Deputy Defense Secretary, Bob Work, he hopes to identify unaccounted-for servicemen to help family. His statement on the Department of Defense’s webpage assured families of loved ones killed at Pearl Harbor.
“The secretary of defense and I will work tirelessly to ensure your loved one’s remains will be recovered, identified, and returned to you as expeditiously as possible, and we will do so with dignity, respect, and care. While not all families will receive an individual identification, we will strive to provide resolution to as many families as possible.”
Once remains are exhumed, the criteria will involve “research, family reference samples for DNA comparison, medical and dental records of the missing service members, and the scientific capacity to identify the remains in a timely manner,” officials say. In the disinterment, the department must “estimate the ability to identify at least 60 percent of the individuals associated with a group.”
Navy Rear Admiral, Mike Franken, the DPAA’s director, feels “privileged” to work on this mission.
“The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is prepared to begin this solemn undertaking in concert with ongoing worldwide recovery missions. Personally, I am most privileged to be part of this honorable mission, and I very much appreciate the efforts of many people who saw this revised disinterment policy come to fruition.”
Many of the remains contain hundreds of soldiers that were co-mingled when they were buried as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific inside a volcanic crater in Honolulu, Fox News reports. About 22 from the USS Oklahoma are buried at Punchbowl, which also includes unidentified sailors and Marines from other Pearl Harbor battleships, including USS West Virginia.
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, says with the latest advancements in technology and forensics science, identifying the unknowns from the Pearl Harbor attacks should be a lot more successful than it was decades ago. She says officials are aiming to identify the 388 service members within 5 years.
Officials plan to begin the work in three to six weeks, Morgan said. They aim to identify the remains of up to 388 servicemen within five years.
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