OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — The remains of more than 300 sailors and Marines who died when the USS Oklahoma sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor 79 years ago have been identified thanks to the work of experts at Offutt Air Force Base.
Among those identified was Robert Edward Bailey, 21, of Coldwater, according to a story in the Celina Daily Standard.
Bailey was waiting for his brother to join him on the USS Oklahoma in Hawaii during the early hours of a day that now lives in infamy, the Standard reported. He had switched places with another Navy officer on the battleship so he could be on board when his older brother Willis arrived.
Not long after, torpedoes bludgeoned the battleship and the USS Oklahoma capsized, taking Bailey and 428 others along with it.
The six-year effort to identify 388 people who went missing when the USS Oklahoma capsized during the attack is wrapping up after 338 of them have been identified, the Associated Press reported.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has used DNA technology and other modern methods to identify the remains that were sent to Offutt after they were disinterred from the National Military Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
The agency’s forensic anthropologists and historians beat their goal of identifying at least 315, or 80%, of the missing men, and several more identifications could be made once the latest test results are received, said Carrie LeGarde, the anthropologist who is leading the project.
On Wednesday, the agency will hold a ceremony in Lincoln before seven flag-draped cases containing 7,500 unidentifiable bones are loaded aboard an Air Force plane to be returned to Hawaii for reburial. Another ceremony will take place in Hawaii once the remains arrive there a few hours later. The ceremonies will be broadcast live on the agency’s Facebook page.