LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Samuel Warwick Crowder was a 35-year-old Petty Officer Third Class and a fireman onboard the USS Oklahoma.
He was among the 429 sailors and marines who died in the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The sad news reached his mother sometime later that he was "given up as lost." Three paragraphs in the local paper describe Crowder as a freelance commercial artist and a former member of the 138th field artillery band.
Photographs provided by the pentagon show a dapper, confident, square-jawed young man. Crowder's sacrifice was enshrined on official memorials. But any first-hand recollections of his life, the person he was, apparently died along with his mother and his only sibling.
And it might have stayed that way if not for a decision in 2015, when the Department of Defense exhumed the remains of nearly 400 unaccounted for service members tied to the Oklahoma. They had been laid to rest as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
The identification of Crowder's remains was made possible by the work being done by the DPAA, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
"Crowder's name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from World War II," said a DPAA press release. "A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for."
Through DNA testing and comparisons to the DNA of a living relative, Sam Crowder was positively identified. The family was notified in late August.
The next step will be funeral services with full military honors for the navy fireman who had been declared lost for nearly 76 years.