Decades-Old Remains of a 21-Year-Old Sailor Killed on the USS Oklahoma During Pearl Harbor, Will Finally Be Laid to Rest

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Herbert "Bert" Jacobson will finally be laid to rest 80 years after his death. Jacobson was one of the many killed during the attack on Pearl Harber on Dec. 7, 1941. Jacobson will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Initially, the family had no body to bury when Jacobson was reported killed. [i]
Herbert "Bert" JacobsonUS Navy/Associated Press

The USS Oklahoma was submerged for two years before refloating to the surface. This was when bodies were recovered from the ship's wreckage. Many men's dental records were studied to identify them, but 27 went unidentified. Those left nameless were subsequently reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, better known as the Punchbowl. [ii]

With new technological advances, forensic anthropologist Debra Prince Zinni said, "We now have the ability to forensically test these remains and produce the identifications." Project Oklahoma began in 2015 in hopes of identifying those who were killed when nine or more torpedoes struck their ship. [iii]

According to recounts from Jacobson's shipmates, he had recently finished duty following ferrying a few men to shore. In 2019, the family was notified that Jacobson's remains were recently identified. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the funeral was delayed. Now, the family is finally receiving closure after all these years. [iv]

The USS Oklahoma was the 37th battleship commissioned by the US Navy. Four hundred twenty-nine officers, sailors, and marines died despite the ship never participating in any battles in WWII. This is the "second greatest loss of life at Pearl Harbor." A few escaped the ship, but most could not free themselves and "went below the water with the ship." [v]


[i] Don Babwin, Over 80 years after Pearl Harbor, sailor Herbert Jacobson to be laid to rest, (Sep. 13, 2022)

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] Associated Press, Sailor killed at Pearl Harbor to be laid to rest, at last, (Sep. 13, 2022)

[v] Id.

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