Pearl Harbor troops' remains to be identified

Published April 15, 2015

Promise to families

Pearl Harbor troops' remains to be identified

The Pentagon will exhume and identify remains from as many as 388 sailors and Marines who died aboard the Navy ship Oklahoma when it was hit by torpedoes during the Pearl Harbor attacks in Hawaii.

The service members' remains have lain in graves marked "Unknown" in Hawaii since they were removed from the sunken ship in the years after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack by Japan.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon said it would use medical and dental records and family DNA samples to identify the remains. It said evidence indicates that most — but not all — of the crew members can be identified.

"The secretary of defense and I will work tirelessly to ensure your loved ones' remains will be recovered, identified, and returned to you as expeditiously as possible, and we will do so with dignity, respect and care," Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said.

A total of 429 sailors and Marines died in the attack on the Oklahoma. In the years after the attack, 41 crew members were positively identified and buried.

Tribune Washington Bureau