Navy Ensign Charles Stern Jr. was just 26 years old when he was assigned to the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor. On December 7th, 1941, the ship was struck by multiple Japanese torpedos, and Stern was killed alongside hundreds of other crew members.
Stern’s body was deemed “unidentifiable” and his remains were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the “Punchbowl.”
In 2015, the Defense Department began exhuming remains from the Punchbowl for analysis. With help from scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, they were able to analyze Y-chromosome DNA from the unidentified remains, and return Stern’s body to his family nearly 80 years later.
His nephew and namesake, Charles M Stern III, said that Stern will soon be buried in a plot next to his parents, as the family originally intended.