California sailor accounted for decades after death at Pearl Harbor

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File – This undated photo shows Navy Water Tender First Class Charles E. Hudson. Hudson died on the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack in WWII, but was only recently accounted for. (Photo: DPAA)

WASHINGTON — A California family has closure decades after the death of a Navy man in World War II.

Navy Water Tender First Class Charles E. Hudson was a 39-year-old serving on the battleship USS Oklahoma when it was attacked by Japanese forces at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The Oklahoma was hit by multiple torpedoes and quickly capsized, resulting in the deaths of 429 crew members, including Hudson.

For years, many of the sailors and other service members who lost their lives on the Oklahoma remained unidentified — buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii without individual designation.

But a team with the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency was granted permission in 2015 to exhume some of the unknown remains and reexamine them with modern forensic technology, in hopes of finally confirming to loved ones that their family members had died at Pearl Harbor.

Hudson, a Stockton, California native, is one of the latest sailors officially accounted for by the project. He was formally identified last December but his family only recently received their briefing on the findings, so the DPAA shared their findings and a photo of Hudson with media Friday.

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

He will be buried Sept. 10 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Another recent success for the program came in March, when a U.S. Marine from San Diego became the 300th service member identified through the project. He was buried in a ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in June.

The DPAA website details the USS Oklahoma Project and efforts to account for missing military members.

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