Remains of USS Oklahoma sailor killed in Pearl Harbor identified, to be buried in Texas

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The remains of a U.S. Navy sailor have been identified thanks to new technology nearly 78 years after he was killed at Pearl Harbor during World War II.

Navy Coxswain Layton T. Banks of Dallas, Texas, was accounted for on Oct. 8, 2019, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced last week.

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Banks was 20 years old when he was assigned to the USS Oklahoma battleship, which was moored at Ford Island on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese aircraft attacked.

Multiple aerial torpedoes struck the battleship and it quickly capsized, trapping hundreds of sailors. Banks was among the Oklahoma’s 429 crewmen who died in the attack.

Banks' remains were identified nearly 78 years after he was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Banks’ remains were identified nearly 78 years after he was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

“We rather he would not have died, but the sacrifice historically may be worth it,” Banks’ nephew, David Titsworth, told FOX4 Dallas-Fort Worth. “I mean look at the America we have today. We are not speaking German.”

The Navy spent three years recovering the remains of the deceased. However, by 1947 scientists had been able to identify only 35 crew members. Those who went unidentified were subsequently buried in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, the DPAA said.

In 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl and scientists used anthropological analysis to identify Banks.

Banks enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, Titsworth said. He married just three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Banks will be buried on Oct. 24 in Plano, Texas.

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