From The Tribune staff reports
WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on Thursday that Navy Fireman 2nd Class Ralph C. Battles, 25, of Boaz, Ala., killed during World War II, was accounted for on Feb. 12, 2021.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Battles was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The ship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Battles.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.
Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis. To identify Battles’ remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Battles’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Battles will be buried on Aug. 28, 2021, in his hometown.
For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.