Navy concerned about JPAC's exhumation plans

HONOLULU (AP) - A Hawaii-based military command responsible for finding, recovering and identifying missing-in-action service members is at odds with the Navy over exhuming unidentified soldiers from the USS Oklahoma.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command wants to exhume all of the Dec. 7, 1941 casualties of the USS Oklahoma buried at Punchbowl cemetery.

But the Navy prefers to maintain the "sanctity" of the graves.

It will be up to the Army, which has "next-of-kin" authority over all Punchbowl unknowns.

JPAC Central Identification Laboratory Director John Byrd says the command proposes disinterring remains of more than 330 Oklahoma crew members buried in more than 50 graves.

JPAC also wants to disinter and try to identify crewmen from the battleships California and West Virginia.

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