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Remains of WWII sailor from Oklahoma returning to family

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

COWETA, Okla. – The remains of a sailor from northwestern Oklahoma killed during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, have been identified and are being returned to his family.

The American Graves Registration Service says DNA analysis identified the remains exhumed from a national cemetery near Honolulu as those of 20-year-old Navy Seaman 1st Class Eugene W. Wicker of Coweta, Oklahoma. He was one of 429 USS Oklahoma crew members killed when the battleship was struck by Japanese torpedoes and capsized.

In April 2015, a new Defense Department directed that unknown members of the Oklahoma’s dead be exhumed and subjected to DNA testing. He will be buried with full military honors Aug. 4, in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.