Identities of sailors killed in Pearl Harbor WWII attack still being discovered 80 years later

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Navy Seaman Second Class Floyd D. Helton (DPAA)

Navy Seaman Second Class Floyd D. Helton (DPAA)

(CBS) — The remains of three crewmates who were killed in the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor have been identified, officials said.  Authorities used DNA as well as dental and anthropological analysis to identify Navy Seaman Second Class Floyd D. Helton, 18, of Somerset, Kentucky, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.

Officials also identified Navy Fireman First Class Walter S. Belt Jr. and Navy Seaman First Class David F. Tidball. Belt was 25 and Tidball was 20 when they were killed.

All three sailors were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on December 7, 1941, and capsized, resulting in 429 deaths.

A majority of the remains recovered from the ship weren’t identified and were buried in 1949 in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Officials began exhuming the remains in 2015 in an effort to identify them.

Helton’s remains will be buried July 31 in Burnside, Kentucky, officials said.

In March, another sailor who was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, William Eugene Blanchard, was identified through DNA testing.

In 2020, two other Pearl Harbor sailors’ remains were identified and returned home — 23-year-old Navy Fireman First Class Hadley Heavin and 20-year-old Navy Coxswain Layton T. Banks, who was also assigned to the USS Oklahoma. 

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