Earl Maurice Ellis is a United States Navy sailor who was killed on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was identified on December 22, 2020 along with Wesley Brown.

Early Life and Military Service

Earl Ellis was born on August 20, 1918 to William and Margaret Ellis in Victoria, Louisiana. The second son of seven siblings, he enlisted into the United States Navy from Victoria. His service number is 3468302. He served on the USS Oklahoma and was ranked as a Petty Officer 3rd Class, with his specialty being Radioman 3rd Class.

Pearl Harbor

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 capsized. Ellis was killed during the attack, though his exact circumstances are unknown. Their remains were located between 1941 and 1944, but not identified. As a result, they was considered Missing in Action while their 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 Ellis, 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.

Aftermath

Ellis was awarded the Purple Heart after his death.

In September 1947, the American Graves Registration Service was tasked to identify unknown soldier's remains from the Pacific Theatre. However, they were only able to identify thirty-five of the crewmen from the USS Oklahoma. In October 1949, the American Graves Registration Service ruled Ellis, along with many soldiers whose remains were not identified, as unrecoverable.

His name is featured on the USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Honolulu Memorial of the Courts of the Missing in Court 3. He also has a cenotaph at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan and one at Ocean View Cemetery in Eureka, California where his twin sister Pearl is buried.

Identification

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. Ellis' family previously uploaded their DNA in 2011. 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, Earl Maurice Ellis was identified on December 22, 2020.

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