NWLA sailor killed on USS Oklahoma to be laid to rest
SABINE PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A Sabine Parish sailor will be formally laid to rest with full military honors 75 years after his death.
Services for Navy Seaman 1st Class Paul Smith Raimond, of Converse, are set for 11:30 a.m. Pacific (4:30 p.m. Central) Tuesday in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Raimond is one of 429 crew members killed Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese aircraft attacked the USS Oklahoma, one of eight battleships moored at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.
Historical accounts say multiple torpedo hits caused the ship to quickly capsize.
No single vessel at Pearl Harbor, with the exception of the USS Arizona, suffered as many fatalities.
Navy personnel worked through June 1944 to recover the remains of the USS Oklahoma's crew.
In September 1947, the remains of U.S. personnel killed in the Pacific Theater were disinterred from Halawa and Nu'uanu cemeteries so they could be identified.
At that time, staffers were only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma.
The American Graves Registration Service buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots in the Honolulu cemetery that, because of its shape, commonly is known as the Punchbowl.
And in October 1949, a military board classified Raimond and the others who could not be identified at that time as non-recoverable.
It was not until about 66 years later that Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency personnel began exhuming and trying to identify the remains of unidentified USS Oklahoma personnel killed at Pearl Harbor.
Advancements in DNA testing uncovered a match between Raimond's remains and a sister and a nephew.
That information plus circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, including dental comparisons, led to Raimond's remains being identified.
USS Oklahoma crew members accounted for Feb. 24, 2017, along with Raimond include:
- Navy Steward’s Mate 1st Class Cyril I. Dusset,
- Navy Fireman 1st Class Lawrence H. Fecho, and,
- Navy Fireman 1st Class Walter B. Rogers.
More than 400,000 Americans died during World War II. Of those, 76,051 still are unaccounted for. About 26,000 of those service members have been classified as possibly recoverable.
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