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Military IDs 100 Killed on USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor

  • Associated Press

FILE - In this July 27, 2015 file photo, military pallbearers escort the exhumed remains of unidentified crew members of the USS Oklahoma killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor that were disinterred from a gravesite at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

The military has identified 100 sailors and Marines killed when the USS Oklahoma capsized during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago, officials said Friday.

The milestone comes two years after the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency dug up nearly 400 sets of remains from a Hawaii cemetery.

Officials exhumed the bodies after determining that advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families could make identifications possible. The buried Marines and sailors have been classified as missing since World War II.

The agency has said it expects to identify about 80 percent of the battleship's missing crew members by 2020.

FILE - In this May 24, 1943 file photo, the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma is lifted out of the water at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.
FILE - In this May 24, 1943 file photo, the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma is lifted out of the water at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The most recent identification came last week, the agency said in a news release. The family hasn't been notified yet, however, so his name hasn't been released.

Many of those identified have been buried in their hometowns. Others were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery in the Pacific, which is located in an extinct volcanic crater in Honolulu.

One reburial is planned for next week: Navy Radioman 3rd Class Howard W. Bean of Everett, Massachusetts, will be buried Wednesday in Arlington National Cemetery. Bean was 27 when he was killed.

Altogether, 429 people on board the battleship were killed in the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing that plunged the United States into World War II. Only 35 were identified in the years immediately after.

Many remains buried in Hawaii were comingled with other sailors and Marines. The 388 men disinterred in 2015 were buried in 46 plots.

The agency has been studying dental records and DNA to make identifications. It sent exhumed remains to a lab at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for analysis. The lab sent some 5,000 samples to a military DNA lab.

The agency has family DNA reference samples for 85 percent of the unaccounted for Marines and sailors.

More than 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Oklahoma's casualties were second only to the USS Arizona, which lost 1,177 men. The Arizona is still resting at the bottom of the harbor with most of its crew entombed on board.

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