An Oklahoma Marine Still Missing at Pearl Harbor

december 2017 america in wwii

Front cover of the December 2017 issue of America in WWII magazine (Author’s copy)

The December 2017 issue of America in WWII magazine includes an article written by myself that focuses on the tremendous efforts by the historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, military personnel, researchers, and other civilian workers that make up the Department of POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) at Joint Base-Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii, and their latest successes and goals in identifying the remains of U.S. servicemen from our past wars.

PFC Charles R Taylor.jpg

Boot camp photo of PFC Charles Robert Taylor (Photo in possession of author).

Oklahoma Missing

Poster hanging in the laboratory area of Department of POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Honolulu, Hawaii, shows photos with names of sailors and Marines of those killed onboard USS Oklahoma (BB-37) whose remains have yet to be identified. The red banners indicate those whose remains have been positively identified. PFC Charles Taylor’s photo is at extreme top right corner. (Photo by Guy Nasuti)

What began as a story I was in the process of developing due to my work as a US naval historian, suddenly turned into a personal one for my wife and I upon learning of my father-in-law’s discovery that he had an uncle that had been killed at Pearl Harbor he hadn’t known of. PFC Charles Robert Taylor, a 23-year-old from Carnegie, Oklahoma, died onboard USS Oklahoma (BB-37). Taylor was one of the 40 men that made up USS Oklahoma’s marine corps detachment. Of the 429 men killed aboard the Oklahoma, 35 were identified, and the rest were buried in a mass grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (the “Punchbowl”). As of February 2017, 30 more sets of remains from USS Oklahoma have been identified, and several more have been identified since then (the exact number was unavailable to me).

With the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor last December, my wife and I traveled to Honolulu to try and discover where DPAA was in the process of identifying our missing servicemen’s remains and how they went about doing so. We also wanted to pay tribute to PFC Taylor and all of his shipmates and comrades during the war.


The home of the Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Center of Excellence building at Joint Base-Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii, is where several civilian and military personnel work collecting evidence to help identify the remains of American servicemen still carried as Missing in Action or Prisoners of War from past wars in our nations history.  (Photo by Guy Nasuti)