Remains of NC Navy seaman killed in Pearl Harbor attack ID’d 79 years later

State - Regional

The video above highlights the identification of another service member who died during the Pearl Harbor attack

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The remains of a 19-year-old North Carolina Navy seaman killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II have been identified 79 years after his death, according to military officials.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced on Wednesday that Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward E. Talbert, 19, of Albemarle, was accounted for on Aug. 5.

According to a release from the DPAA, Talbert was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese fighter jets attacked.

The USS Oklahoma was struck multiple times by torpedoes and quickly capsized. Talbert was one of 429 crewmen who died as a result of the attack.

From December 1941 to June 1944, remains of the crew were recovered by Navy personnel and then interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries, the release said.

In September 1947, members of the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains of the U.S. service members buried at the two cemeteries and moved them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, according to the release. The remains were disinterred because the AGRS was given the assignment of recovering and identifying U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater.

Staff at Schofield Barracks were only able to positively identify the remains of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma. Talbert was not one of them.

The unidentified remains were then buried in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, better known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, according to the DPAA. In October 1949, the military classified those who could not be identified, including Talbert, as “non-recoverable.”

Nearly 66 years after being classified as non-recoverable, DPAA personnel exhumed the unknown crew of the USS Oklahoma from the Punchbowl for further analysis. This took place between June 2015 and November 2015.

In order to identify Talbert’s remains, DPAA scientists used anthropological analysis, the DPAA said. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System also helped the effort, using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis to help identify the remains. The identification was made approximately six years after Talbert’s remains were exhumed.

Talbert’s name, along with the others missing from WWII, is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl. A rosette will be placed next to his name to reflect that he has now been accounted for.

Talbert will be buried in Albemarle on March 26, 2022, according to the news release.

You can click here to view Talbert’s military personnel profile.

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