HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - BY DEVON TSAI
A U.S. sailor who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor will finally receive full military honors.
Navy Machinist's Mate 1st Class Vernon T. Luke was a sailor serving aboard the USS Oklahoma when the attack happened on Dec. 7, 1941. He was killed in action but his remains were unidentifiable for more than seven decades.
Through the persistence of Pearl Harbor survivor and former Navy Chief Petty Officer Ray Emory and the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, they now have positively identified Luke.
"Chief Ray Emory works tirelessly to get his shipmates identified and properly honored," said Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific."We owe Ray a huge debt of gratitude for his research, compassion, and ongoing commitment to our Sailors and their families."
Luke was just one of 388 sets of remains that were disinterred last summer from 45 different grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
"The process of disinterring the remains and re-interring them once they have been identified is a commitment to the families of our fallen heroes that the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is proud to be part of," said Gene Maestas, Public Affairs Specialist for the NCA. "The veterans at the National Memorial cemetery of the Pacific take great pride in doing our part to rejoin the families with their fallen heroes and providing them with a beautiful and serene touch point to visit and reflect."
Luke's ceremony will be held on March 9 at 11:30 a.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Both Fuller, Emory, along with Luke's family will be in attendance. The service includes a flag detail, firing detail, and bugler and military chaplain.