Guests render honors at USS Oklahoma Memorial

Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Stone (left) salutes alongside Lt. Sarah Greenfield (center) and Rear Adm. Jon Kreitz, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency deputy director of operations, during a memorial ceremony at the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island, Dec. 7. Background: Memorial markers showcase the crew members of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago.
Photos by Marine Sgt. Jacqueline A. Clifford and MC2 Somers T. Steelman

MC2 Melvin J. Gonzalvo

Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

Pearl Harbor survivors, family members and friends gathered at the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, to honor fallen service members Dec. 7.

The ceremony commemorates USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and the officers, Sailors and Marines who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The Japanese Imperial Navy launched the attack that damaged more than 20 naval vessels including the Nevada-class battleship Oklahoma, which was hit by nine torpedoes before finally sinking.

“There were 461 Sailors and Marines trapped inside the ship. Rescuers worked hard and over the course of two days, were able to rescue and save 32 of them,” said Rear Adm. Jon Kreitz, deputy director, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. “Her capsizing was slow and steady, an unimpeded process that cost way too many lives.”

Only the USS Arizona (BB-39) lost more lives during the attack that morning. When the Oklahoma was finally brought back to the surface, there were 394 unidentified Oklahoma crew members.

“As of today, 188 Oklahoma Sailors and Marines have been identified and returned to their families,” Kreitz said.

The memorial was officially signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006 and was formally dedicated on Dec. 7, 2007. It stands next to the entrance of the Battleship Missouri, where it was formerly berthed.

The annual ceremony is dedicated to the crew of the mighty battleship and serves as a reminder of what Sailors endured during the attack.

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Category: News