Remains of missing WWII Navy Seaman on USS Oklahoma identified as Tennessean

Pearl Harbor Remains, USS Oklahoma
Posted at 11:31 AM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 13:41:18-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The remains of a World War II sailor who was on the battleship USS Oklahoma have been identified as a Tennessean through the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Navy Seaman 1st Class William Brooks, 19, of Cumberland Gap, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft.

On December 7, 1941, multiple torpedoes hit the ship, causing it to capsize and take the lives of 429 crewmen, including Brooks.

Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew between December 1941 and June 1944. The remains were subsequently interred.

Members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) later disinterred the remains in 1947 after being tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater. Only 35 identities on the USS Oklahoma were confirmed at the time.

The AGRS buried the rest of the unidentified remains and in October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable. Brooks was among these.

Between June and November 2015, the remains were exhumed again for analysis.

Using dental, anthropological and DNA analysis, Brooks was identified on May 19, 2021. A rosette will be placed next to his name, recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, to indicate that he is now accounted for.

Brooks will be buried on July 16, 2022, in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at 800-443-9298.

Additional information about the Defense Department's mission to account for Americans who went missing in the line of service is available on the DPAA website. Brooks' personnel profile is also available online.