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Sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack buried with military honors 75 years later

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Photo of Punchbowl Cemetery courtesy of Kent Nishimura-Pool/Getty Images

HONOLULU (March 10, 2016) — A sailor killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor has been buried with full military honors nearly 75 years after the bombing.

Petty Officer 1st Class Vernon Luke, a machinist’s mate, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, was buried at a veterans cemetery in Honolulu on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old was killed when Japanese planes bombed his battleship, the USS Oklahoma, on Dec. 7, 1941.

His remains were initially thought to be unidentifiable, and he was buried as an “unknown.” He was among nearly 400 unidentified sailors and Marines from the battleship.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency last year decided to dig up their comingled remains, saying advances in forensic science and technology had made identification more feasible.

The agency now expects to identify 80 percent of the Oklahoma missing within five years.