POW/MIA accounting agency identifies remains of Missouri Sailor who died at Pearl Harbor
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recently announced that Navy Seaman 2nd Class Brady Prewitt, 20, of Liberal, Missouri, killed during World War II, was accounted for.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Prewitt was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The ship sustained multiple torpedo hits, causing it to quickly capsize. The attack resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Prewitt.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the crew, which were subsequently interred in Hawaiian cemeteries.
In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the U.S. casualties and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identities of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. Those who could not be identified were labeled non-recoverable, including Prewitt.
Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma unknowns for analysis.
To identify Prewitt’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,648 still unaccounted for from World War II with approximately 30,000 assessed as possibly recoverable. Prewitt’s name is recorded on the courts of the missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
The time and place for Prewitt’s funeral has yet to be decided.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, call 703.699.1420/1169 or visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or www.facebook.com/dodpaa.
(Editor’s note: Information provided by the DPAA.)