Pentagon to try and identify the 400 unidentified dead from Pearl Harbor

Pentagon to try and identify the 400 unidentified dead from Pearl Harbor

When people refer to 9/11 as the Pearl Harbor of our generation, it is specifically because the similar nature of the surprise attacks that killed thousands of American Lives.  Many of those killed at Pearl Harbor went unidentified as a result of the complicated means of recovery and the prolonged process of identifying limited remains.  The Pentagon now plans to  attempt to identify more than 400 unidentified dead from Pearl Harbor.


Pearl Harbor

“The Pentagon said Tuesday it would exhume and try to identify the remains of nearly 400 sailors and Marines killed when the USS Oklahoma sank in the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The ship capsized after being hit by nine torpedoes during the December 7, 1941 surprise attack from Japanese forces. Altogether, 429 sailors and Marines onboard were killed. Only 35 were identified in the years immediately after.

Hundreds were buried as unknowns at cemeteries in Hawaii. In 1950, they were reburied as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – also known as the Punchbowl – inside a volcanic crater in Honolulu.

The military is acting now, nearly 75 years after the men died, because advances in forensic science and technology as well as genealogical help from family members have made it possible to identify more remains, said Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency spokeswoman.

The move is apparently a part of a new Pentagon policy on disinterring the remains of unknown troops.

According to the new policy, bodies may be exhumed from Punchbowl or any other permanent American military cemeteries – but they can not be removed from any U.S. Navy vessel that is being used as a national memorial, like the USS Arizona which remains sunk and on display in Honolulu.

The bodies of Marines and sailors lost at sea do not apply to this new effort.”

It sounds like a great way to honor those that their lost their lives.  Finally giving soldiers the proper burial that they deserve only seems appropriate.

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