HONOLULU (KHON2) – A marine who served on the USS Oklahoma on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Friday, June 3.
Marine Pfc. Walter Leon Collier, 20, of Burbank, California, from WWII was identified in May 2021 by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Collier 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. The USS Oklahoma had multiple torpedo hits, and it capsized. There were 429 crewmen who died from the attack including Collier.
His services were scheduled for December 2021. His military burial ceremony was postponed to June 3, 81 years after his death.
Collier’s name was on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
The Navy recovered the remains of the deceased crew from the USS Oklahoma from December 1941 to June 1944. They were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. The American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries and took them to the Central Identification Laboratory located at Schofield Barracks in September 1947. There were 35 military men from the USS Oklahoma identified. The AGRS buried unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Collier.
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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis between June and November 2015. Scientists from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used anthropological analysis and mitochondrial DNA analysis to identify Collier and others.