USS Oklahoma Soldier Accounted For From World War II
22-year-old Navy Radioman Third Class Irvin F. Rice from Detroit will be laid to rest October 2, 2021 in Berkley, Michigan.
Rice was assigned to battleship USS Oklahoma.
On December 7, 1941 USS Oklahoma was stationed at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits which caused it to immediately capsize.
The attack on the ship resulted in 429 deaths, including Rice.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew and placed them in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries in Hawaii.
In September of 1947 the American Graves Registration Services were tasked with removing the remains from the two cemeteries and transferring them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory was able to identify at least 35 men from USS Oklahoma.
The AGRS buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
In October 1949, Rice and the others that could not be identified were classified by a military board as “non-recoverable.”
DPAA personal started exhuming the USS Oklahoma unknowns from the Punchbowl between June and November of 2015.
Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomal STR DNA analysis to identify Rice.
The DPAA say Rice’s name has been recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl and a rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at 800-443-9298.