World & Nation

Military identifies 100 killed on the battleship Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor

File - In this July 27, 2015 file photo, military pallbearers escort the exhumed remains of unidenti
Pallbearers escort the remains of unidentified Oklahoma crew members that were exhumed in 2015 from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

The military has identified 100 sailors and Marines killed when the U.S. battleship Oklahoma capsized during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago.

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

Officials had the bodies exhumed after determining that advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families could make identifications possible.

The buried troops have been classified as missing since World War II.


The agency has said it expects to identify about 80% of them by 2020.

The most recent identification came in late November, 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 reburied in their hometowns. Others were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, located in an extinct volcanic crater in Honolulu.

One reburial is planned for Dec. 6: Navy Radioman 3rd Class Howard W. Bean of Everett, Mass., will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Bean was 27 when he was killed.


Altogether, 429 people on 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 co-mingled with those of other sailors and Marines. The 388 sets of remains 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 in Nebraska for analysis. The lab sent about 5,000 samples to a military DNA lab.

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

More than 2,300 sailors, Marines and soldiers were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Oklahoma’s casualties were second only to the those of the battleship 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.