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Kentucky sailor’s remains identified at Pearl Harbor after 77 years; Seaman Hall, 20, was from Floyd County

Advances in DNA and other forensic tools have enabled investigators to identify the remains of another Kentucky sailor, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, and whose remains had been listed as unknown since then.

Seaman 2nd Class Hubert P. Hall, 20, of Floyd County, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Hall.

Seaman 2nd Cass Hubert P. Hall

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, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service, or 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 Punchbowl. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Hall.

In April 2015, the Department of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. Two months later, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify Hall’s remains, scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. He becomes at least the fifth Kentuckian from the USS Oklahoma to be identified, following the 2015 directive.

Hall will be buried next spring at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

The other four Kentuckians aboard the USS Oklahoma whose remains have been identified since 2017 include:

–Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Ulis C. Steely, 25, of Corbin, who was buried earlier this month in Corbin.

–Fireman 1st Class Billy J. Johnson, 22, of Caney, in Morgan County, was identified in July and was buried in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

–Fireman 1st Class Samuel W. Crowder was buried with full military honors, December 9, 2017 in Louisville, following identification by DNA analysis.

–Seaman First Class Millard Burk, Jr., of Pikeville, had his remains identified in June, and was re-buried at the Punchbowl in July.

Kentucky Today

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