JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 24-year-old Jacksonville man serving aboard the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941 -- the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor -- was finally accounted for last fall, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday.
Navy Seaman 1st Class Herbert J. Poindexter died in the initial attack that led to American's involvement in World War II.
The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize and resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Poindexter.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.
In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks.
The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Poindexter.
Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknown remains for analysis. To identify Poindexter’s remains, scientists from the agency used dental and anthropological analysis and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis.
Poindexter will be buried June 21, 2019, in Jacksonville.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 72,731 still unaccounted for from World War II. Poindexter’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to Poindexter's name to indicate he has been accounted for.