FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear recognizes the sacrifice of a Hawesville sailor who died on the USS Oklahoma in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but whose remains were not identified until this year.
“It took a long time to get him home, but we honor the sacrifice of Navy Fireman Martin Young no less,” said Gov. Beshear. “All of our veterans and their families have earned our respect and compassion for their service.”
Navy Fireman 2nd Class Martin D. Young, 21, of Hawesville, Kentucky, died on Dec. 7, 1941.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), on that date:
Young was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Young.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu'uanu Cemeteries.
In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Young. But in 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.
To identify Young’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Young’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.
Young will be buried on May 15, 2021, in Lewisport, Kentucky. Gov. Beshear will order flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Fireman 2nd Class Young on the day of his interment.