Arkansas Sailor’s Remains Identified

The Arkansas native was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Navy Mess Attendant 3rd Class Issac Parker
Courtesy: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

The remains of an Arkansas sailor killed during World War II have been accounted for. Navy Mess Attendant 3rd Class Issac Parker of Woodson, Ark. was 17 at the time of his death. 

On Dec. 7, 1941, Parker was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft, according to a press release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. Parker was one of 429 crewmen who died in the attack.

From Dec. 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. 

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

Staff could only confirm the identities of 35 men at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In Oct. 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Parker.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis between June and November 2015.

To identify Parker’s remains, DPAA scientists used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA analysis.

Parker’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for. 

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Dec. 22 that Parker was accounted for Sept. 8. He will be buried June 8, 2021 in St. Louis.

His personal profile can be viewed here