Another Casualty From Pearl Harbor Identified And Laid To Rest

USS Oklahoma, USS Maryland and USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
USS Oklahoma, USS Maryland and USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Murry R. Cargile, of Robersonville, North Carolina, was 21 when he was killed on the USS Oklahoma during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Cargile was on board the ship when it was hit by multiple torpedoes and rapidly sunk with 429 men aboard. No other ship at Pearl Harbor suffered as many casualties except the USS Arizona.

From December 1941 to June 1944, the US Navy recovered remains from the Oklahoma and interred them in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

The American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) was tasked with recovering and identifying US servicemen and women in the Pacific Theater in September 1947. The Oklahoma crewmembers that had not been identified were disinterred and sent to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The staff there were able to identify 35 of the men at that time. The rest were buried in the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In 1949, the unidentified crew members were classified as non-recoverable by a military board.

The Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum in April 2015 which authorized the disinterment of the unknown sailors from the Oklahoma. The DPAA began exhuming the remains on June 15, 2015.

Scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis and Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat DNA analysis to match Cargile’s remains to two of his brothers and a sister. They also used circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, including dental comparisons to determine that the remains belonged to Cargile, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reported.

There were 16 million Americans that served in World War II. Over 400,000 of them died. There are currently 73,072 service members that have not been accounted for from WWII.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE