Remembering Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, 80th Anniversary – December 7, 2021

This is a bit later getting posted as I was planning for it to be posted around the time attacks were going on at Pearl Harbor. I re-checked those Mississippians –  Mississippians at Pearl Harbor – Mississippi Department of Archives and History who did not have a headstone or cenotaph marker outside the ones in Hawaii.

Update on the DNA project to identify the 429 unknowns who couldn’t be identified and were buried as Unknowns – Update on Pearl Harbor Identifications: This update was posted yesterday and they have identified 250 of the 429 unknowns as of 2019. I went looking for updates, but didn’t see any updated information on how many unknowns are still unaccounted for. Looks like 85 are still unidentified from one report:

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Dec. 6 it has identified 250 unaccounted-for service members from the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

The identifications have come from ongoing projects to identify Pearl Harbor Unknowns from the USS Oklahoma, USS West Virginia, and USS California.

All of the service members had been buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, called the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

The USS Oklahoma Project is the first, largest, and most successful of the Pearl Harbor projects.

The first disinterment happened in 2003 after an independent researcher contacted the agency. Five service members were identified; however, DNA testing indicated that additional service members were present and further analyses were necessary to continue identification efforts. An additional one-casket disinterment and identification was made in 2007.

The full disinterment of the remaining USS Oklahoma Unknowns took place in 2015. In the four years since, 236 more identifications have been made, and work is on-going to identify the remaining 152.

The project to identify the 35 Unknowns from the USS West Virginia began in mid-2017. To date, eight have been identified.

The USS California Project is the most recent, beginning in 2018 and while none have yet been identified, 25 have been exhumed and are currently undergoing scientific analysis.

DPAA has partnered with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System-Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFMES-AFDIL) to identify all of the unaccounted-for service members. The lab takes DNA samples from the remains and compares them with DNA family references samples. This, combined with dental and anthropological analysis from DPAA labs in Hawaii and Nebraska, makes identification possible.

These projects would not be possible without the additional partnership of the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Navy POW/MIA Branch.

Dec. 7, 2019, marks the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which was the catalyst for the U.S. entry into World War II.

If you want a comprehensive list of those who died December 7, 1941, here’s one list: This list includes both civilians as well as military. For the military, it includes rank and branch of service (with USA being United States Army, not United States of America, and would include those who were part of the Army Air Corps or Army Air Force, better known as the Air Force today). I occasionally photograph or transcribe a memorial where the headstone has Pearl Harbor or Pearl Harbor survivor on it. Let’s not forget all of the men, women, and children who died in the attack that day and let’s reflect and remember them.

About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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