The remains of a Navy sailor from Danville killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in World War II have been positively identified. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced that Navy Signalman 3rd Class Charles E. Nix, 26, of Danville was accounted for on September 25, 2017.
Nix was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on December 7, 1941. The ship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Nix.
Navy personnel spent two-and-a-half years recovering the remains on the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in two cemeteries in Hawaii. In September, 1947, members of the American Graves Restoration Service disinterred the remains of the U.S. casualties and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. Laboratory staff were able to identify 35 of the men, but the unidentified remains of 46 others – including Nix – were buried in a National Cemetery in Honolulu.
It was in April of 2015 that the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum which ultimately led to the identification of other remains – including those of Signalman Nix. In order to identify the remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner used DNA, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
Of the 16 million Americans who served during WWII, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,771 still unaccounted for from World War II.
Nix’s name had been placed on the Walls of the Missing at a National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific known as the Punchbowl. Now a rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he is no longer missing.