The remains of a Massachusetts sailor who died when the USS Oklahoma was hit by multiple torpedoes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.
The funeral comes more than 80 years after the attack that provoked the US into World War II and nearly four years after the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that Pittsfield electrician mate Roman W Sadlowski had been counted using advanced DNA. and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
About 15 relatives from Massachusetts, Texas and Florida are scheduled to attend the ceremony delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, said Joe Makarski Jr, Sadlowski’s cousin and who provided a DNA sample that was used about a decade ago. to help identify the remains.
“We’re pretty excited,” Makarski, 81, said in a phone interview. “It’s been a long time and I’m glad I’m still alive to wrap it up.” Makarski never met his mother’s brother, but he grew up hearing about him.
“I remember my mom and dad talking about him, and they always spoke highly of him,” he said. “I know he worked at General Electric and did the books for my mother’s little beauty salon in Pittsfield. Growing up, I always saw his picture in my grandmother’s house.” Sadlowski, 21, enlisted in the Navy on July 31, 1940, according to the Navy’s Office of Community Outreach.
As an electrician’s mate, his duties included maintaining, operating, and repairing the battleship’s electrical systems, engines, generators, and alternators.
The USS Oklahoma was one of the first ships to be hit by three aerial torpedoes during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, just before 8 a.m. when many sailors were still sleeping below decks, according to Navy reports.
The port side had been torn open and within 15 minutes of the initial attack it had completely capsized, trapping hundreds of crew members. Two members of the crew earned the Medal of Honor for their efforts to save their fellow sailors, and a third was awarded the Navy Cross.
Sadlowski was one of 429 USS Oklahoma sailors and Marines who died.
Of those who died, 388 could not be identified and were buried in the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
The process of exhuming the remains for DNA analysis began in 2015, and 355 have been identified since then, according to the Navy.
Sadlowski’s family discussed where the remains should be buried, Makarski said. They considered cemeteries for veterans in Massachusetts and Florida, and even considered his hometown of Pittsfield, although no relatives are known to still live in the city in western Massachusetts.
“We talked a lot about it and chose Arlington because of its prestige,” he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)