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Remains of unaccounted for Oklahoma WWII sailor identified

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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

GARBER, Okla. – The remains of a U.S. sailor from Oklahoma unaccounted for since the battleship USS Oklahoma was sunk at Pearl Harbor almost 77 years ago have been identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday that the remains of 21-year-old Navy Fireman 1st Class Leonard R. Geller of Garber were accounted for on Jan. 9.

Geller was assigned to the Oklahoma when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The battleship capsized resulting in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Geller.

The remains of the ship’s deceased crew were initially interred in Hawaii. Geller’s remains were disinterred in 2015 and positively identified this year using DNA analysis, circumstantial evidence and anthropological analysis.

The remains of more than 72,000 American servicemen are still unaccounted for from World War II.

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