US to exhume bodies of those killed in attack for identification and burial

The sailors and Marines had been aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma when it was struck by Japanese torpedoes in 1941.

The corpses of over 400 United States servicemen and women killed during the 1941 Pearl Harbour attack are to be exhumed for proper identification and burial.

The sailors and Marines had been aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma,whichwas one of several warships targeted by Japanese submarines and aircraft in the surprise assault on 7th December 1941. Over 2,400 people were killed and the attack would then draw the US into World War II.

The remains of the slain servicemen and women were thereafter buried together in Hawai. But with advances in forensic and DNA testing, the long deceased service people will be properly identified and given individual burials.

According to officials of the US Department of Defence, the identification effort would be aided by advances in forensic science and technology, as well as by genealogical help from family members.

Deputy Secretary of Defence, Robert Work also said in a statement that "although not all families will receive an individual identification, we will strive to provide resolution to as many families as possible."

So far, only the remains of 35 of the 429 sailors and Marines killed aboard the USS Oklahoma have been identified.

The rest of the remains, retrieved during salvage operations from 1942 to 1944 , were buried in caskets, marked as "unknown", at a national cemetery in Hawaii.

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