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Remains of Wisconsin brothers killed during Pearl Harbor recovered

By WDJT Staff

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    WASHINGTON (WDJT) — Three brothers from New London that were killed during World War II were accounted for on June 10.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)_ announced that brothers, Navy Fireman 1st Class Malcolm J. Barber, 22, Navy Fireman 1st Class Leroy K. Barber, 21, and Navy Fireman 2nd Class Randolph H. Barber, 19, were recovered.

The Barber brothers were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Officials say the USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewman, including the Barber brothers.

Navy personnel recovered the remains of deceased crew from Dec. 1941 to June 1944, which were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, laboratory staff were only able to confirm the identification of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at the time. Members of the American Graves Registrations Service (AGRS) buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

Officials say in October 1949, a military board classified the unidentified as non-recoverable, including the Barber brothers.

Between June and November of 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

Officials say the Barber brothers’ names are recorded at the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to their names to indicate they have been accounted for.

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