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Remains Of US Navy Crewman From Sheridan Killed In Pearl Harbor Attack Found

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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on Tuesday, January 3rd, that Navy Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Herman Schmidt, 28, of Sheridan, Wyoming, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Jan. 13, 2021.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Schmidt was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft.

The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize.

The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Schmidt.

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

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks.

The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications 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 (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Schmidt.

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

To identify Schmidt’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis.

Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

Schmidt’s name is recorded on the Walls 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.

Schmidt will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, on a date yet to be determined.

For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Navy for their partnership in this mission.



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    Gary Bishop

    January 4, 2023 at 9:52 am

    Herman is my great uncle. We were happy that his remains were identified a year ago.

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      Gwen Turner

      January 5, 2023 at 8:21 am

      This is wonderful news. I hope it has brought some peace to your family.
      Will there be a local memorial ceremony for him?

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        Gary Bishop

        January 5, 2023 at 12:50 pm

        I was told that they have not finalized plans yet.

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      Marty Grover

      January 5, 2023 at 10:19 pm

      My sincere condolences to you and the rest of your family. Your family should be incredibly proud of your uncle. May he rest in peace.

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