Everett Cecil Titterington is a United States Navy Sailor who was killed on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His remains were identified on March 23, 2021.
Everett Titterington was born on August 25, 1920 to Maynard and Pearl Titterington in Terril, Iowa. He was their oldest son nd the first of five children the couple had before Maynard's death in 1926. For most of his life, Everett lived his life around Milford, Iowa. He attended the local schools before dropping out at age sixteen to joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He was initially at the Milford CCC camp, but then transferred to the CCC camp at Bancroft, Iowa. At the camps, he was described as "a willing worker" who "tirelessly" gave his full effort to provide for his younger brothers and sisters.
On December 5, 1939, Titterington enlisted in the United States Navy. He received three months of training at the United States Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, Illinois. He was assigned as a Fireman, First Class, to the USS Oklahoma. He was home on a short furlough in February of 1940. While in the military, his brother, Robert, also joined the United States Navy, and the two hoped to see each other at the Hawaiian Islands.
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, killing Titterington in the process. 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 Titterington, 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.
Titterington's brother, Robert, survived Pearl Harbor but he was at a different ship. He never got to see his brother before his death.
On December 20, 1941, Titterington's family was informed of his disappearance. On February 1, 1942, he was declared dead. After his presumed death, he was awarded the Purple Heart. He was memorialized at the USS Oklahoma Memorial and at the Honolulu Memorial of the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu. On March 15, 1942, the American Legion and Auxiliary sponsored a memorial service at Milford.
In September of 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 of 1949, the American Graves Registration Service ruled Titterington, along with many soldiers whose remains were not identified, as unrecoverable.
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 DPAA used anthropological analysis and scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Y-chromosome (Y-STR) analysis to identify the servicemen.
Through these methods, Everett Cecil Titterington was identified on March 23, 2021. His identification was announced on May 14, 2021.