DNA project identifies Johnson City sailor killed during attack on Pearl Harbor

Regional News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The remains of an East Tennessee sailor killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor will finally be laid to rest in his hometown this summer, nearly 80 years after his death.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Paul E. Saylor, 21, of Johnson City, was aboard the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese forces attacked the naval base plunging the United States into World War II.

The USS Oklahoma moored at Ford Island sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Saylor.

Saylor’s remains were among 46 that were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu after they could not be identified following a disinterment in September 1947.

Between June and November 2015 the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed the remains of the 46 unidentified USS Oklahoma sailors. Saylor’s remains were able to be identified using DNA analysis in November.

Saylor’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, the nickname given to the extinct volcano crater where the National Memorial Cemetery is located, on Oahu. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Saylor will be buried on Aug. 20 in Johnson City.

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