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Officials identify remains of sailor from Kalamazoo who fought in WWII

Nightingale Photo.jpg
Posted at 12:57 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 12:58:26-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A USS Oklahoma sailor from Michigan has been accounted for from World War II.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Joe R. Nightingale, 20, of Kalamazoo was killed in World War II and accounted for on Aug. 29, 2019, though his family only recently had their full briefing of his identification, according to a news release Tuesday.

Nightingale Photo.jpg

Back on Dec. 7, 1941, Nightingale was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island in 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 resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Nightingale.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the crew’s remains, which were then interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Lab at Schofield Barracks.

Staff were only able to identify 35 of the men at the time, and the unidentified remains were buried in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

A military board in October 1949 classified those who could not be identified as unrecoverable, including Nightingale.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma unknowns from the cemetery for analysis, using dental and anthropological remains to identify them.

Nightingale’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.

He will be buried Dec. 7 in Augusta, Michigan.