"We got lucky in our re-examination of the case," a JPAC historian wrote. "During the original processing of X-2 Nuuanu, they noted in their paperwork that he had a healed right femur. Hickok's medical records had no indication of this injury, but when I looked at his paperwork from his enlistment to the service (paperwork that wouldn't have been previously available), I noticed that he had written that he'd broken his right leg as a boy."
Ponds called Emory a hero.
"I learned from him firsthand we have done a lot, but there is still a lot to do to identify those who lost their lives."
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific sits in a crater that resulted from volcanic activity.
"If you have not been patriotic, once you become immersed in this environment, you become patriotic," said Ponds. "Or you don't have a pulse."
The theme for this year's commemoration at Pearl Harbor is "Coming of Age -- From Innocence to Valor."
"By 1945, these boys had become men," said Ponds.
Friday's ceremony will include a tribute to U.S. submarine crews that served in World War II. One in five of nearly 18,000 men who served on those vessels died.
USS Bowfin crew member Robert Beynon, 88, of DeLand, Florida, will represent the submarine service.
The Bowfin, launched one year to the day after the Japanese attack, is credited with making the submarine an offensive weapon, rather than just a patrol vessel. It sank between 16 and 44 ships.
Beynon went on three of the Bowfin's nine wartime patrols. He told CNN of one close scrape when a Japanese escort vessel detected the Bowfin after a metal drawer fell. "That noise gave him an opportunity to find us," said Beynon.
The result was 21 depth charges in about 20 seconds, Beynon said, and the submarine hurried to more than 600 feet below the surface.
Jerry Hofwolt, executive director of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park near the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, said the boat braved a minefield in the Sea of Japan in the closing months of the war.
According to Hofwolt, those in the submarine service had a strong bond of friendship, reinforcing the phrase, "We're all in the same boat."