388 Unidentified Pearl Harbor Victims To Be Exhumed, ID'd

The Department of Defense is exhuming the unidentified remains of 388 servicemen who died on board the USS Oklahoma in 1941.
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388 Unidentified Pearl Harbor Victims To Be Exhumed, ID'd

The Department of Defense said Tuesday it's going to be exhuming the remains of almost 400 unidentified sailors and Marines who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

On December 7, 1941, in a surprise attack the Japanese fired torpedoes on the USS Oklahoma. Of those on board, 429 were killed. 

Over the next several years, multiple salvage operations tried recovering the remains from the sunken ship. While 35 crew members were identified, the majority of those killed were not and instead were buried as "unknowns" in two different Hawaii cemeteries. 

The military attempted to identify the remaining servicemen in 1947, but were unsuccessful and the remains were all reburied in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. (Video via KHON)

CNN reports a Pearl Harbor survivor was able to provide historical evidence in 2003, that led to the identification of five more service members. 

This time around, the Department of Defense believes it has the necessary technology to accurately identify the remaining unknown sailors and Marines who died in the attack. But it won't be easy. 

A forensic anthropologist from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that each casket actually contains the bones from dozens of the service members, because the remains were originally sorted by body part when they were first recovered and then later reconstructed into individual skeletons. 

Because of this, it's expected to take several years to identify all the remains. Anyone who is positively identified will receive a new burial with full military honors.