WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will exhume and identify remains from as many as 388 sailors and Marines who died aboard the Navy ship Oklahoma when it was hit by torpedoes during the Pearl Harbor attacks of Dec. 7, 1941.

The service members’ remains have lain in graves marked “Unknown” in Hawaii since they were removed from the sunken ship.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon said it would use medical and dental records and family DNA samples to identify the remains.

“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 Bob Work said in a statement.

A total of 429 sailors and Marines died in the attack on the Oklahoma. Forty-one crew members have been positively identified and buried.

The rest of the remains were buried as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. The bodies will be exhumed from there later this year.

The remains of service members who are identified will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.


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