Nearly eight decades after a U.S. Navy seaman from Missouri was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, he will return to his hometown for burial.
Seaman 1st Class Orval Austin Tranbarger, 20, was from Mountain View, 100 miles east of Springfield.
He served on the USS Oklahoma and was aboard the ship at Pearl Harbor when it came under attack Dec. 7, 1941, by Japanese aircraft.
The battleship was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize.
Tranbarger was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew.
By September 1947, only 35 of the remains had been positively identified by members of the American Graves Registration Service.
The U.S. Department of Defense POW/MAI Accounting Agency explained, in a news release, that Tranbarger was not initially identified among those recovered from the ship.
His remains, along with others that had not yet been identified, were interred collectively as unknown at the National Cemetery of the Pacific.
Five years ago, personnel from the agency exhumed all remaining caskets associated with the USS Oklahoma buried at that cemetery and transferred them to a laboratory. Tranbarger’s remains were identified Sept. 18, 2019.
To identify Tranbarger, the scientists used dental and anthropological analysis including DNA.
He has long been memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the cemetery. However, now accounted for, a rosette will be placed next to his name.
Tranbarger will be buried in his hometown. No date has been announced.
Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to email@example.com and consider supporting vital local journalism by subscribing. Learn more by visiting News-Leader.com/subscribe.
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