Remains of 2 sailors killed at Pearl Harbor in 1941 identified

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The remains of two sailors who were killed during the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor have been identified, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced. 

talbert.jpg Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward E. Talbert

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward E. Talbert, 19, of Albemarle, North Carolina, and Pfc. Walter L. Collier, 20, of Burbank, California, were identified.

Talbert was accounted for on August 5, the agency said in a statement Wednesday. Collier was identified on May 25 but his family only recently received a full briefing.

Both sailors was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island when Japanese aircraft attacked. Multiple torpedo hits quickly caused the warship to capsize.

Talbert and Collier were among 429 crewmen killed but their remains were among many that could not be identified for decades.

Pearl Harbor Casualty California Pfc. Walter L. Collier, on Dec. 4, 1939. 

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

A majority of the remains recovered from the ship weren’t identified and were buried in 1949 in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Officials began exhuming the remains in 2015 in an effort to identify them.  

Collier was identified through anthropological and mitochondrial DNA analysis, the agency said.

Collier will be buried on Dec. 8 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Last year, two other Pearl Harbor sailors’ remains were identified and returned home — 23-year-old Navy Fireman First Class Hadley Heavin and 20-year-old Navy Coxswain Layton T. Banks, who was also assigned to the USS Oklahoma. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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