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Remains of Wichita sailor killed during attack on Pearl Harbor identified

The USS Oklahoma, sunk in the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, is shown here...
The USS Oklahoma, sunk in the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, is shown here during salvage operations in 1943. (U.S. Navy photo) (KOTA)
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 3:07 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) — The remains of a Wichita sailor killed during World War II have been identified. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Thursday that Navy Ship’s Cook 3rd Class Robert Goodwin, 20, was accounted for on Nov. 24, 2020.

Goodwin was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma located at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 7, 1941, a Japanese aircraft attacked the USS Oklahoma. The battleship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Goodwin.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced said
Navy Ship's Cook 3rd Class Robert...
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced said Navy Ship's Cook 3rd Class Robert Goodwin, 20, of Wichita, Kansas, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Nov. 24, 2020.(Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Goodwin.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify Goodwin’s remains, scientists from DPAA dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

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

Goodwin will be buried on May 14, 2021, in Topeka, Kansas.

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