USS Oklahoma Sailor to Receive Full Honors at Funeral Service – Identification Delayed 7 Decades

Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Vernon T. Luke, 43, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, will be buried March 9 at 11:30 a.m. with full military honors at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

Navy Machinist's Mate 1st Class Vernon T. Luke

Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Vernon T. Luke

Luke was aboard USS Oklahoma (BB 37) during Imperial Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was killed in action, but identification of his remains was delayed for more than seven decades.

Luke’s remains had been previously thought to be “unrecoverable” and “unidentifiable.” But thanks to determined efforts of Pearl Harbor Survivor and former Navy Chief Petty Officer Ray Emory, the remains of Luke and other USS Oklahoma Sailors were disinterred for identification by the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Emory was stationed aboard USS Honolulu (CL 48) on Dec. 7, 1941.

“Chief Ray Emory works tirelessly to get his shipmates identified and properly honored,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “We owe Ray a huge debt of gratitude for his research, compassion and ongoing commitment to our Sailors and their families,” Fuller said.

Both Fuller and Emory will attend Luke’s funeral service and meet with family members. The service will include a flag detail, firing detail, bugler and military chaplain.

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