Alphard Stanley Owsley was a United States Navy sailor who was was killed on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His remains were identified on September 14, 2020 along with George Gooch.
Alphard Owsley was born on January 8, 1918 in Bourbon County, Kentucky to Edward and Ida Owsley. The youngest of four siblings, Owsley joined the United States Navy from his home state. At the time of his death, his rank was Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class.
Pearl Harbor Attack
At about 7:48 AM on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service conducted a surprise military strike against the United States at the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The USS Oklahoma was one of the first ships to be attacked. The ship was torpedoed and was capsized. Owsley was killed during the attack, though his exact circumstances are unknown. His remains were located between 1941 and 1944, but not identified. As a result, he was considered Missing in Action while his remains were buried in the Punchbowl at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Overall, 2,335 Americans were killed in the attack, 429, including Owsley, were on the USS Oklahoma. The surprise attack led to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". The following day, the US Congress declared war on Japan which led to the United States' formal entry into World War II.
Owsley's name is featured on the USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Honolulu Memorial of the Courts of the Missing, Court 1. He also has an additional grave in Plot T of Paris Cemetery in Paris, Kentucky.
In 2015, the Department of Defense and the Defense POW/MIA accounting agency initiated a program to exhume the unidentified sailors of the USS Oklahoma to try and match their DNA against the DNA of family members whose loved ones were never identified. Scientists at the D.P.A.A. used anthropological analysis and scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis to identify the servicemen.
Through these methods, Alphard Stanley Owsley was identified on September 14, 2020. His identification was announced on September 23, 2020
Sadly, Owsley's last living sibling, Mary, passed away on May 27, 2020, preventing her from learning her brother's identification months later.