Two sailors killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified 80 years later
Two men who were killed in the attacks on Pearl Harbor have been identified more than 80 years after their deaths, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Tuesday. The two sailors were onboard the USS Oklahoma, which was docked in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked.
They were identified as Navy Fire Controlman 2nd Class George Gilbert, 20, of Indianapolis, and Navy Seaman 1st Class Wilbur F. Newton, 29, of San Leandro, California. Gilbert was listed as accounted for on August 24, 2020, and Newton was accounted for on October 12, 2021, according to the DPAA.
A photo of Newton was provided by the DPAA. No photo of Gilbert was listed.
The DPAA said 429 crewmen were killed, including Gilbert and Newton, when the USS Oklahoma was torpedoed by Japanese forces and subsequently capsized. The remains of the crewmen were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries in Hawaii without being identified.
In September 1947, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) removed the remains, sending them to a lab for identification. Only 35 crewmembers were identified, the DPAA said. The unidentified remains were returned to Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, and identified as “non-recoverable” by the military.
In 2015, nearly 70 years later, DPAA personnel exhumed those remains for additional analysis. They were able to identify Gilbert and Newton using dental and anthropological analysis, as well as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, according to the DPAA.
Gilbert will be buried June 6, 2022, at the Punchbowl, while Newton will be buried May 28, 2022, in Mound City, Missouri.
Their names, which are recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, will have a rosette placed next to them to show they have been identified, the DPAA said.