PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii, April 15 (UPI) -- The Pentagon announced it will exhume the bodies of up to 388 sailors and Marines who were killed during the Pearl Harbor attacks so they can be identified and individually buried.
The service members were aboard the USS Oklahoma battleship when it was struck by torpedoes in the 1941 surprise attack by the Japanese, killing 429. They were buried in "unknown" graves in Hawaii's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The Pentagon is optimistic the remains can be identified.
More than 2,400 people were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack that brought the United States into the Second World War.
"The Secretary of Defense and I will work tirelessly to ensure your loved ones' remains will be recovered, identified and returned to you as expeditiously as possible, and we will do so with dignity, respect and care," Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said in a statement. "While not all families will receive an individual identification, we will strive to provide resolution to as many families as possible."
The remains will undergo DNA examination at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory. About 41 servicemen have already been identified through DNA samples and medical or dental records provided by relatives.
The remains of the sailors and Marines will be returned to their families and then receive military funeral honors.