USS Oklahoma Sailor from Ill. accounted for from WWII
On Dec. 7, 1941, Delles was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.
WASHINGTON (WIFR) - Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Leslie P. Delles, 21, of St. Charles, Illinois, who was killed during World War II, was accounted for on Feb. 12, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Delles was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Delles.
From Dec. 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, who were then buried in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries.
In Sept. 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service uncovered the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
The AGRS then 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 Delles.
Between June and Nov. 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma unknown persons from the Punchbowl for analysis. To identify Delles’ remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA analysis, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Delles’ name is recorded on the Courts 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. Delles will be buried on Oct. 23, in Sutter Creek, California. For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.
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