Remains of Pearl Harbor sailors return home after 77 years

AP Published: 2018-12-07 10:04:04
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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. More than 75 years after the Japanese attack killed nearly 2,400 in Hawaii, the bodies of some sailors killed at Pearl Harbor are finally being laid to rest in their hometowns across the U.S. After DNA allowed the men to be identified and returned home, their remains are being buried in places such as Traer, Iowa and Ontonagon, Michigan. [File Photo: AP]

More than 75 years after nearly 2,400 members of the U.S. military were killed in the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, some who died on Dec. 7, 1941, are finally being laid to rest in cemeteries across the United States.

In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed nearly 400 sets of remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii after determining advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families could make identifications possible. They were all on the USS Oklahoma, which capsized during the attack, and had been buried as unknowns after the war.

Altogether, 429 sailors and Marines on the Oklahoma were killed. Only 35 were identified in the years immediately after the attack. The Oklahoma's casualties were second only to the USS Arizona, which lost 1,177 men.

As of earlier this month, the agency has identified 186 sailors and Marines from the Oklahoma who were previously unidentified.

Slowly, the remains are being sent to be reburied in places like Traer, Iowa, and Ontanogan, Michigan.

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