Officials identify 7 service members from the USS Oklahoma

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Project to identify USS Oklahoma unknowns enters new phase

HONOLULU – Seven of the nearly 400 service members tied to the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor have been identified, the military announced Monday. 

The USS Oklahoma sank when it was hit by torpedoes on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A total of 429 sailors and Marines on the ship were killed.

Thirty-five crew members were positively identified and buried in the years immediately after the attack, according to the Defense Department.

By 1950, all unidentified remains were laid to rest as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

In 2003, five more service members were identified, with the help of historical evidence from Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Emory, 93.

In June 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began digging up the remains of the USS Oklahoma sailors and Marines from the veterans cemetery in Honolulu.

Officials hope to identify the remains by using dental analysis, skeletal analyses and DNA testing.

On Monday, officials exhumed the last four of 61 caskets containing the Oklahoma unknowns.

Many of the caskets contain multiple sets of remains.

The agency hopes to identify about 80 percent of the Oklahoma crew members within five years, Hawaii News Now reports.

So far, the military has identified seven of the service members missing since the USS Oklahoma capsized.

Officials plan to release their names once their families have been notified.

Service members who are identified will be returned to their families for burial, with full military honors.

Rescue crews work on the upturned hull of the 29,000 ton battleship USS Oklahoma December 8, 1941. The ship capsized after being blasted by Japanese warplanes December 7, 1941. Holes were burned through the hull to permit the rescue of some of the men trapped below. Credit:Library of Congress Source: US Navy

Rescue crews work on the upturned hull of the 29,000 ton battleship USS Oklahoma December 8, 1941. The ship capsized after being blasted by Japanese warplanes December 7, 1941. Holes were burned through the hull to permit the rescue of some of the men trapped below.
Credit: Library of Congress
Source: US Navy