An Everett sailor was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday after having been killed in action 76 years ago during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Howard W. Bean served as a Radioman 3rd Class on the USS Oklahoma. He was one of the 429 crewmen who perished when the ship capsized on Dec. 7, 1941, after being struck by several Japanese torpedoes. Bean was 27.
For years, Bean’s remains were among those which could not be identified after the attack and were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii; however, in 2015 a policy change at the Department of Defense directed that the remains of unknown persons associated with the USS Oklahoma be exhumed for further attempts at identification using modern technology. Scientists from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System applied modern DNA tests with mitochondrial DNA analysis, using comparisons with the DNA of living relatives. Those tests, along with dental comparisons and some circumstantial evidence, led to Bean’s remains being identified.
Almost 73,000 Americans who served in World War II remain unaccounted for, according to the military. About a third of those are classified as potentially possible to identify.