Remains of Kentucky sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified after almost 80 years

Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The remains of a Kentucky sailor killed during the Pearl Harbor attack nearly 80 years ago have been identified, officials said.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Howard S. Magers, 18, was accounted for on Dec. 17, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday. Magers was from the Merry Oaks community in Barren County.

He will be buried May 29 at Merry Oaks United Methodist Church Cemetery in Smiths Grove.

Family spokeswoman Paula Ratliff Pedigo told the Daily News that Magers will be given a hero’s burial during Memorial Day weekend.

“We really wanted to give him a nice homecoming,” Pedigo said. “He will be given full military honors with a 21-gun salute. It will be a really special day. I’m honored to be working with the family.”

Magers was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Pearl Harbor during the surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941, officials said. The ship took multiple torpedo hits and quickly sank, resulting in the deaths of 429 crew members. Scientists used dental, anthropological and DNA analysis to identify Magers’ remains.