West Virginia sailor killed in WWII accounted for after nearly 80 years

West Virginia

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that Navy Patternmaker 1st Class Stanislaw F. Drwall, 25, of Thomas, West Virginia, was officially accounted for on March 25, 2021. (Photos Courtesy: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOWK) – A West Virginia sailor who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II is now accounted for.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Navy Patternmaker 1st Class Stanislaw F. Drwall, 25, of Thomas, West Virginia, was officially accounted for on March 25, 2021, nearly 80 years after he was killed in action during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941..

According to the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, Drwall was born Aug. 15, 1916, in Tucker County, WV, and was the second oldest child of Polish immigrants, the late Frank and Mary Drwall. He had three sisters, Anna, Helena, and Evelyn, and two younger brothers Edwin and Wladyslaw, whose name was anglicized as Walter, all of whom are now deceased, according to the department.

The agency says Drwall was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The battleship quickly capsized after it was hit by multiple torpedos, killing 429 crewmen.

Navy personnel recovered the crewmen’s remains between December 1941 and June 1944. The agency says their remains were interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries in Hawaii. The September

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. Then in September 1947, the American Graves Registration Service was given the task of recovering and identifying U.S. personnel who died in the Pacific Theater and disinterred remains of U.S. casualties from those two cemeteries.

The remains of the U.S. casualties were taken to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. The agency says only 35 men from the USS Oklahoma could be positively identified at that time. According to the DPAA, the AGRS buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. Those remains that could not be identified, including Drwall’s, were classified as “non-recoverable” in October 1949.

The DPAA exhumed those remains of the “USS Oklahoma Unknowns” from the cemetery for analysis 66 years later between June and November of 2015. The agency says Drwall was identified through dental and anthropological analysis by its scientists and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA analysis.

Drwall will be buried in his hometown of Thomas August 5, 2021, and a rosette will be placed next to his name on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, where the names of the missing from WWII have been recorded, to indicate he has been accounted for.

According to a June 15, 1945 newspaper clipping from the Cumberland News provided by the DPAA, Drwall’s younger brother Walter was part of an armed guard crew serving aboard a transport vessel that failed to arrive at its destination December 10, 1942, in the North Atlantic war zone. He was declared dead in 1945.

Both Drwall brothers posthumously received a Purple Heart.

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