Sailor From World War II Accounted for After Being Unidentified for 80 Years

He was one of the 429 crewmen killed after his battleship was attacked by Japanese aircraft in Pearl Harbor in 1941. He will now be laid to rest later this year.

Howard S. Magers, a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, will finally be laid to rest. In 1940, the 18-year-old from Kentucky left to serve in the Navy. He was a Navy Seaman 2nd Class, assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

On December 7th, 1941, the Oklahoma was attacked by Japanese aircraft. After being hit with several torpedoes during the air attack, the ship quickly capsized. This attack resulted in the deaths of 429 crew members, including Magers.

From December 1941 to July 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew. However, despite efforts from the Navy and American Graves Registration Service, many of their remains went unidentified.

At the time, laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma. The American Graves Registration Service buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency personnel dug up the USS Oklahoma unknown soldiers from the Punchbowl for analysis. They were able to use dental and anthropological analysis and mitochondrial and autosomal DNA to identify Magers’ remains.

Along with others who are missing from WW2, Magers’ name has been listed on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl. Now, his name will have a rosette placed next to it, which indicates he’s been identified and is on his way home.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Howard S. Magers will be buried on May 29, 2021, in Smith’s Grove, Kentucky.