Marine killed at Pearl Harbor finally laid to rest in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Eighty years after he died in the attack on Pearl Harbor and just months after his remains were finally identified, a California Marine has been laid to rest with full military honors.

About 50 people attended the ceremony Tuesday for Pfc. John Franklin Middleswart at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in his hometown of San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Marines fired a three-volley rifle salute. Another sounded “Taps” on a bugle.

“What an amazing miracle it is to have John with us today,” Navy Chaplain Robert LeCompte said.

Records show Middleswart enlisted in the military at age 19. He was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941.

USS Oklahoma was hit by multiple torpedoes, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack resulted in the deaths of 429 crew members, including Middleswart.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, also known as DPAA, announced Middleswart was accounted for on Jan. 28, 2021. He’s the 300th service member identified through the USS Oklahoma Project.

“When I notified the nephew, who is 80 years old, he was not only excited that his uncle had been identified, he was also excited that he was the 300th service member of 429 unaccounted-for Sailors and Marines to be identified,” Hattie Johnson, the head of the Repatriation branch of the Marine Corps Casualty Office, said. 

DPAA personnel exhumed formerly unidentified remains known as the USS Oklahoma Unknowns between June and November 2015 for analysis.

Scientists from DPAA anthropological analysis and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis to identify Middleswart’s remains.

Middleswart’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. A rosette has been placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

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

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