Pearl Harbor sailor identified 75 years after the attack

Courtesy of AP Graphics

(WBAY) – Almost 75 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the remains of five U.S. sailors who perished when their battleship sunk have been identified.

One of those sailors includes Petty Officer First Class Vernon Luke of Green Bay.

Lee Ann Michalske was just 3 years old when she first remembers tears in her home.

“My mother and my grandma and my aunt were crying, I had never seen them cry before over anything,” recalls Michalske.

Within days Michalske would learn her uncle, Vernon Luke, died at Pearl Harbor while serving on the USS Oklahoma.

Because his body was never identified, he was buried in Hawaii as unknown.

For the past 15 years, Luke’s family placed dozens of calls.

“Anybody in the Navy, anybody in the government we could think of that might have some influence to find his remains and bury him with a name on it,” says Michalske.

Six weeks ago, the Navy notified Michakske her uncle has been identified, and next week he will receive a full military honors funeral at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii.

“They’re going to bury him like a hero, he is the first known out of all the unknowns that have been identified,” says Michalske.

As the oldest surviving member of Vernon Luke’s family, the Navy is flying Lee Ann to Hawaii to attend her uncle’s ceremony.

She’s looking forward to it and expects to be filled with emotions.

“For my family to finally bury my uncle and know where he is and have a top on him, it just, it just seems like that’s the way it should be, this is really personal and I think it will be a little more moving that I hope because I easily cry,” says Michalske.

Seven decades later, those tears will signify closure.

Copyright 2016 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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