Sailor’s Stays Recognized 82 Years After Pearl Harbor


On Dec. 7, 1941, the usS. California, the flagship of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, was moored on “battleship row” at Pearl Harbor when it was struck by Japanese torpedoes and bombs. The ship caught fireplace, flooded and sank over the course of three days, and 103 crew members have been killed.

Officers have been initially unable to determine the entire victims and the stays of 25 “unknowns” have been buried in Hawaii.

However on Thursday, officers introduced that that they had used superior forensic expertise to determine certainly one of them as David Walker, a 19-year-old mess attendant third class from Norfolk, Va.

“It’s our obligation to deliver them dwelling,” mentioned Sean Everette, a spokesman for the Protection P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Company, or D.P.A.A., an arm of the Pentagon whose mission is to seek out and return lacking army personnel. “It’s a promise fulfilled to the service member,” he mentioned, including that “we additionally owe it to the households to provide them solutions.”

Mr. Walker, who attended highschool in Portsmouth, Va., earlier than he joined the Navy, might be buried at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery in September, officers mentioned.

A marker signifying that he has been accounted for might be positioned subsequent to his identify on the Partitions of the Lacking on the Nationwide Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

His stays have been recognized in November, officers mentioned, practically 82 years after the shock assault on Pearl Harbor introduced america into World Battle II, and 6 years after the D.P.A.A. exhumed the stays of the 25 “unknowns” related to the usS. California.

Officers mentioned this week that scientists from the company used anthropological and dental evaluation to determine Mr. Walker. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System additionally used mitochondrial DNA evaluation.

As a large number attendant, Mr. Walker, who was Black, would have been chargeable for operating the ship’s galley, or cafeteria, Mr. Everette mentioned. Mess attendants cooked, served meals and cleaned dishes.

“There have been solely a handful of jobs that have been open to African American service members within the Navy, and mess attendant was certainly one of them,” Mr. Everette mentioned, including that “sadly, again then, the Navy was nonetheless segregated.”

The D.P.A.A. recognized Cheryle Stone, 70, as Mr. Walker’s subsequent of kin. Ms. Stone, who lives in Pennsylvania, mentioned that Mr. Walker was a cousin who died lengthy earlier than she was born.

She mentioned she realized about him for the primary time when the D.P.A.A. contacted her. She instantly considered his mom, she mentioned in an interview, and the way exhausting it will need to have been for her to not know what had occurred to her son.

“That needed to be horrible,” Ms. Stone mentioned.

Ms. Stone mentioned she additionally imagined her cousin’s expertise aboard the usS. California as one of many few Black service members.

“I feel that he would have needed to have been a really sturdy particular person,” she mentioned.

Mr. Walker is certainly one of 5 sailors from the usS. California whose stays have been recognized since 2018.

In January, officers recognized the stays of Merle C.J. Hillman, 25, a pharmacist mate second class from Holyoke, Mass. Officers mentioned scientists used anthropological, mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA evaluation.

Final 12 months, officers recognized the stays of Stanley C. Galaszewski, 29, a seaman second class from Steubenville, Ohio. In 2022, two different sailors from the California have been recognized: Pete Turk, 20, a seaman second class from Scammon, Kan., and Tceollyar Simmons, 18, a seaman second class from Detroit.

Whereas the trouble to determine extra sailors from the usS. California assault continues, related tasks have been halted.

The army introduced in 2021 that it was ending a six-year venture to determine the stays of these killed on the usS. Oklahoma throughout the Pearl Harbor assault.

Officers have been in a position to match human stays from the ship with the names of 362 sailors and marines. Thirty-two members of the ship’s crew couldn’t be recognized within the venture, and have been interred on the Nationwide Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Although the Oklahoma venture ended, officers mentioned on the time that separate efforts to determine crew members of the usS. California and the usS. West Virginia would proceed.


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