The remains of nearly 400 unidentified American servicemen killed at Pearl Harbor will be exhumed, identified, and given individual burials, the US government has announced.
The bodies are those of US marines and navy personnel who were aboard the ship USS Oklahoma when it was sunk during the surprise Japanese strike on the naval base in 1941.
429 people died when the battleship capsized on Battleship Row after being hit by numerous bombs and torpedoes.
Officials will use forensic analysis and DNA testing to try and identify the bodies, which were buried in coffins marked ‘unknown’.
Advances in technology are said to have made the process of identification significantly easier despite the passage of time.
“While not all families will receive an individual identification, we will strive to provide resolution to as many families as possible,” Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work said in a statement.
The bodies were originally recovered during salvage operations in the later years of WWII but only 35 of the dead were identified.
Many remains were comingled when buried, with earlier analyses of the remains showing up to 100 different people in each large casket.
The fallen are currently buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in a volcanic crater on the Hawaiian island of Honolulu.
The burial ground is informally known as the Punchbowl Cemetery due to its shape.
Source: The Independent