May 16, 2022

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St. Louis sailor killed at Pearl Harbor returning home for burial

ST. LOUIS – Eighty years right after the surprise assault on Pearl Harbor, the remains of a St. Louis sailor killed that fateful day are coming house for burial.

Paul Boemer
Coxswain Paul Boemer was killed aboard the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy Staff Command Community Affairs Business office)

Coxswain Paul Boemer died on Dec. 7, 1941, whilst serving aboard the USS Oklahoma. Boemer was 21.

Boemer acquired a number of posthumous awards and decorations for his provider and sacrifice, together with a Purple Coronary heart, Fight Action Ribbon, American Protection Services Medal, and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. Soon after enlisting on Dec. 6, 1938, Boemer was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia ahead of being assigned to the transportation ship USS Henderson in Hawaii, and later his final responsibility station on the Oklahoma.

Coxswain Boemer will be buried at Jefferson Barracks Nationwide Cemetery on May well 11.

The Oklahoma was assembled from Oct 1912 to 1914. The ship was commissioned on May 2, 1916. The ship and her crew served as escort for President Woodrow Wilson traveling to France in December 1918 to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles. In July 1936, the Oklahoma sailed to Spain to rescue Us citizens during the Spanish Civil War.

The ship was assigned to Naval Station Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1940 for patrol and workouts.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the Oklahoma was moored in Battleship Row when Japanese aircraft attacked. The Oklahoma was amid the very first vessels strike by enemy hearth.

The initially wave of assault planes struck the Oklahoma with three aerial torpedoes. Many of the crew ended up nonetheless asleep underneath decks and in no way created it to the ship’s most important deck. The Oklahoma began to capsize and ultimately rolled around wholly as the vessel was split open up from the aspect. Hundreds of crewmen have been trapped inside of the hull.

The males trapped in the Oklahoma began banging on the ship’s bulkhead hoping to signal passing boats. On December 8 and 9, rescuers managed to lower quite a few holes in the exposed belly of the ship and pulled 32 men out alive. The banging continued and rescuers understood, to their horror, that the appears were coming from beneath the h2o line. Absolutely nothing could be accomplished to get those crewmen.

According to the U.S. Navy, 429 sailors aboard the USS Oklahoma died as a final result of the attack.

When the Oklahoma was righted in 1944, the remains of all those 429 sailors were being recovered. Only 35 have been right away determined. The unidentified sailors and Marines had been to begin with interred in two cemeteries as “unknowns.”

In 2015, the Section of Protection introduced a undertaking to use DNA evaluation to detect those people unknowns and return their remains to their family members. By Dec. 7, 2021, specifically 361 crewmen ended up identified through DNA. The remaining 33 unidentified sailors had been laid to rest with comprehensive navy honors at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.