Remains of Pearl Harbor Vet Identified, 80 Years Later

William Blanchard of Idaho died at age 24
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2021 5:25 PM CDT
Remains of Pearl Harbor Vet Identified, 80 Years Later
In this Dec. 7, 1941, file photo, part of the hull of the capsized USS Oklahoma is seen at right as the battleship USS West Virginia, center, begins to sink after suffering heavy damage in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.   (U.S. Navy via AP, File)

(Newser) – About 80 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a veteran who died during the attacks has had his remains identified, per the AP. The remains of William Eugene Blanchard, who was killed at Pearl Harbor while serving on the USS Oklahoma, were identified through DNA testing conducted by an agency within the Department of Defense, the Idaho Statesman reports. Blanchard was 24 when he was aboard the warship, which was struck by multiple torpedoes and capsized.

Since the 1950s, almost 400 sailors and Marines from the ship were buried without identification at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In 2015, officials at the Department of Defense approved DNA testing for those buried. Until then, only six of the buried soldiers had been identified, according to the Department of Defense. William Eugene Blanchard's grandson, Chris Blanchard, said the soldier's son and another family member provided DNA samples. The Department of Defense was able to identify William Eugene Blanchard’s legs, part of his pelvic bone, and most of his skull.

(Read more Pearl Harbor attack stories.)

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