Flags placed at the graves of those buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., on May 23, 2024.

Flags placed at the graves of those buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., on May 23, 2024. (Matthew Adams/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — The remains of a sailor killed 83 years ago during World War II will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next week, the Navy announced.

Challis Rudolph James died on Dec. 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. James was a seaman 2nd class aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma.

James, who was born in New Boston, Ohio, enlisted on Jan. 21, 1941, less than a month before turning 18 years old. A seaman’s duties included upkeep and operation of the ship such as painting, cleaning and the collection and disposal of garbage. Some of James’ other responsibilities included assisting with moving cargo on and off the ship, standing watches on lookout and being a member of the gun crew, according to his service record.

The USS Oklahoma in April 1938.

The USS Oklahoma in April 1938. (AP)

At the time, 429 crew members aboard the Oklahoma died in the early morning hours of Dec. 7 after the ship capsized from numerous torpedo hits. Only 35 men were identified. The nearly 400 unidentified remains were buried as unknown in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, according to the National Park Service.

In 2015, advances in forensic techniques prompted the reexamination and eventual identification of James’ remains in January 2016, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Some of his awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon and Good Conduct Medal.

James will be buried at Arlington on June 28.

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Matthew Adams covers the Defense Department at the Pentagon. His past reporting experience includes covering politics for The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and The News and Observer. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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