HOPE. Ark. – For the second time in less than a year, the remains of a US Navy veteran from southwest Arkansas who served on the battleship USS Oklahoma in the Pearl Harbor raid are back home.
After nearly 80 years, the remains of U.S. Navy Radioman 3rd Class Earl M. Ellis, of Hope, Ark., Were returned to surviving family members to be buried earlier this week in Eureka, Calif. His remains were buried next to his twin sister, Pearl Ellis.
Ellis, who was only 23 at the time, had been missing since the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, where he was stationed on Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island.
The battleship received at least eight or nine torpedo hits on its left (port) side, causing it to overturn quickly and capsize.
The air raid ultimately killed 429 servicemen aboard Oklahoma, including Ellis.
Henderson, TX resident Loren Mayo said her husband, Richard Mayo, was one of Ellis’ nephews and was only three years old when her uncle was reported as MIA.
“Richard has only vague memories of being in Hope and seeing his uncle,” she said in a phone interview just a day before she and her husband attended the funeral. in California. “I think Earl may still be living in Hope when he enlisted.”
Between 1941 and June 1944, the Navy continued to find the remains of unidentified Marines from the battleship and buried them in two cemeteries in Hawaii.
Shortly after the end of World War II, the United States Army formed the American Graves Registration Service, which went to work in September 1947 to exhume those who died aboard the USS Oklahoma. This led to the identification of 35 additional personnel from the USS Oklahoma. The remaining remains were placed in 62 coffins and buried as “unknown” in 46 plots of the Pacific National Memorial Cemetery shortly before 1950, according to reports on the internet.
Starting in 2015, however, the US Department of Defense got down to work identifying the remains of the USS Oklahoma serviceman’s remains and recently notified surviving members of Ellis’ family.
âThe Navy said the family could have Earl buried anywhere we wanted, with full military honors,â said Loren Mayo. “I am very proud that the Navy is taking on a mission like this, and we are very happy to be a part of this internment process. And we are very proud and honored to be part of Earl’s family.”