INDIANAPOLIS — His remains were unidentified for decades, but at long last a sailor from Indianapolis who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor has been accounted for, officials announced Tuesday.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) said Navy Fire Controlman 2nd Class George Gilbert was accounted for on Aug. 24 of 2020 through dental, anthropologica and mitochondrial DNA analysis.
The agency said Gilbert, age 20, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7 of 1941. The ship capsized, and 429 crewmen were killed, including Gilbert.
According to DPAA, Navy personnel recovered the deceased crew from December of 1941 to June of 1944, and their remains were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries. In September of 1947, members of the American Graves Registration Service took the remains to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks, where only 35 men from the USS Oklahoma were able to be identified at that time. The American Graves Registration Service then buried the unidentified remains in Honolulu at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl. In October of 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Gilbert, per DPAA.
In 2015, DPAA exhumed the unidentified USS Oklahoma remains from the Punchbowl for analysis, which led to the identification of Gilbert.
Gilbert’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to Gilbert’s name to indicate he has been accounted for, DPAA said.
Gilbert will be buried at the Punchbowl on June 6 of 2022.