Scientists ID remains of USS Oklahoma sailor killed at Pearl Harbor

View looking down Battleship Row from Ford Island Naval Air Station, shortly after the Japanese torpedo plane attack. USS California (BB-44) is at left, listing to port after receiving two torpedo hits. In the center are USS Maryland (BB-46) with the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37) alongside. Most smoke is from USS Arizona (BB-39). File Photo by U.S. Navy

March 21 (UPI) — Scientists identified the remains of a U.S. sailor who died more than seven decades ago during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Richard J. Thomson died Dec. 7, 1941, aboard the USS Oklahoma, which capsized after multiple torpedo hits.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency named Thomson as part of a renewed effort to identify hundreds of sailors and Marines killed during the Pearl Harbor attack in Hawaii and buried in unnamed graves. The DPAA began exhuming the remains in 2015 from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl.

Thomson’s name appears on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, where a rosette will be etched next to his name to indicate his identification.

More than 2,400 people were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack that brought the United States into World War II. Earlier this month, the DPAA announced the identification of two others killed aboard the USS Oklahoma — Navy Fireman 3rd Class Willard I. Lawson and Navy Seaman 1st Class Joseph K. Maule.


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