Remains of sailor killed during Pearl Harbor attacks identified

Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward Wasielewski, 21, of Detroit. Wasielewski was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec., 1941.


By MATT DURR | MLive.com | Published: February 13, 2020

DETROIT (Tribune News Service) — Nearly 80 years after he was killed aboard the USS Oklahoma, the remains of Detroit native and Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward Wasielewski, have been identified. 

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Wasielewski’s remains were found last May and confirmed through anthropological analysis, circumstantial and material evidence along and by using Y-chromosome STR DNA (Y-STR) analysis.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Wasielewski, who was 21 years old at the time, was on the ship which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor when Japanese forces attacked. The DPAA says the ship sustained significant damage from multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to capsize. Wasielewski was among 429 people killed on the ship in the attack.

The process of identifying Wasielewski has been ongoing for the last 78 years. From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew and stored them at the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. In September 1947, a group was tasked with trying to identify the remains however, that proved unsuccessful for the majority of the remains.

After several decades of no answers, DPAA personnel exhumed the remains of those aboard the USS Oklahoma from June and November 2015. Wasielewski was among those that were able to be identified using the new testing methods.

The DPAA reports Wasielewski will be buried Feb. 21, 2020, in San Diego. For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Casualty Office at (800) 443-9298.

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