Pearl Harbor remains identified as Michigan sailor

Van Buren County

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — The remains of a Michigan sailor who died in 1941 in the attack on Pearl Harbor has been identified.

The remains of Navy Seaman 1st Class Wilbur F. Ballance was identified in February of this year, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a Wednesday release.

Ballance was a Sailor from Paw Paw. He was 20.

He had been on the battleship USS Oklahoma during the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft and hit by multiple torpedoes.

The ship capsized and Ballance, along with 428 other crewmen, died from the attack.

By 1947 only 35 had been identified, and the American Graves Registration Service buried the unidentified remains in Honolulu at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. But in 2015 those remains were exhumed, and using modern technology Ballance was identified.

He will be buried on Dec. 3 of this year at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at 800.443.9298.

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