FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered flags at all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in honor of a Kentucky sailor whose remains were recently identified after he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and who will be buried on Saturday.
“It took a long time to get him home, but we honor the sacrifice of Navy Fireman Martin Young no less,” said Gov. Beshear. “All of our veterans and their families have earned our respect and compassion for their service.”
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, U.S. Navy Fireman 2nd Class Martin D. Young, 21, of Hawesville 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 resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Young.
Between December 1941 and June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu'uanu Cemeteries.
The DPAA says 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 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 remainder were subsequently buried in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Young.
Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.
To identify Young’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA analysis.
Young’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 now been accounted for.
Young will be buried on May 15 in Lewisport, Kentucky.