The memory and sacrifice of Navy Fireman Third Class, killed during the attack on the USS Oklahoma in World War II was honored on Monday February 4, 2019 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Bennett, whose name is recorded as one of the missing from World War II, was accounted for on August 13, 2018.
Fireman Third Class Robert James Bennett, who entered the U.S. Navy from Iowa, served on the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and was aboard the ship during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. He was killed in the attack, and while his remains were recovered following the incident, they could not be individually identified at the time. F3c Bennett was initially buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In 2015, advances in forensic techniques prompted the reexamination and identification of F3c Bennett’s remains.
Fireman Third Class Bennett is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Only 35 of the dead Oklahoma crewmen were able to be identified immediately after the attack, which killed 2,402 in all and debilitated the U.S. Pacific Fleet for a time.
In 1947, after the Navy had spent nearly three years salvaging the Oklahoma, including pulling human remains from it and burying them, the American Graves Registration Service disinterred those remains but was unable to identify any new crewmen.
The unidentified remains were reburied in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which is known as the “Punchbowl,” in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says. Source: The Advocate
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,866 (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Bennett’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.
Bennett’s personnel profile can be viewed at
https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000XeKKEA0In 2015, DPAA disinterred remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
Bennett’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
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Not stopping with the Oklahoma…
The 388 sailors and Marines with the Oklahoma who were listed as unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific are are amongh thousands of unknowns buried there, including some who also perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor, but since 2015, officials with the the Pentagon’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency have been working on a new policy to recover and identify remains of the unknown, relying on extensive research on family history, along with obtaining medical and dental records, and DNA technology, according to KHON2.
“We’re going to start with the USS Oklahoma, but we will also be looking at other unknown graves to determine if they are eligible for disinterment in the future,” Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan told KHON2.