Sailor's Punchbowl reburial set
A Hickam lab IDs WWII remains once labeled "unknown"
Six decades after being buried under a gravestone marked "Unknown," the remains of Seaman 2nd Class Warren Paul Hickok will be returned to the National Cemetery of the Pacific with full military honors on Wednesday.
Gene Castagnetti, director of the Punchbowl cemetery, said a sister who now lives in Florida is expected to attend the reinternment, scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
Hickok's remains will be returned to grave site 731 in a section generally reserved for World War II veterans at the request of his family, Castagnetti added.
Hickok, a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., was an 18-year-old sailor assigned to the light minelayer USS Sicard when the Japanese attacked the Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
He was believed to be among the sailors dispatched to assist the crew of the USS Cummings, a destroyer docked nearby that got underway and left the harbor with no casualties.
After the attack, two petty officers said they thought they saw Hickok on the battleship USS Pennsylvania before it exploded. Hickok was initially listed as "missing in action." His status was later changed to "killed in action."
In 2003, Ray Emory, a Pearl Harbor survivor and researcher who has compiled data on those killed during the Japanese attack, believed that Hickok's remains were first buried in a grave site in Nuuanu Cemetery under the marker X-2, then reinterred at Punchbowl in 1949 after identification attempts failed.
On June 2, 2005, the remains were again disinterred and taken to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Hickam Air Force Base for identification.
There, JPAC historian Heather Harris verified this new information, which led to a second examination of the remains and Hickok's identification in October. Medical and dental records, especially those that noted that Hickok had little space between the two front teeth, were key.
"We got lucky in our re-examination of the case," Harris said in a written statement.
"During the original processing of X-2 Nuuanu, they noted in their paperwork that he had a healed right femur.
"Hickok's medical records had no indication of this injury, but when I looked at his paperwork from his enlistment to the service (paperwork that previously would not have been available), I noticed that he had written that he'd broken his right leg as a boy."
Emory was also given credit.
"Mr. Emory has been collecting and analyzing information about World War II, unknowns, and the unknowns associated with the attack on Pearl Harbor for longer than I have been alive," Harris said.
"He amassed a prodigious amount of information and developed a keen understanding of how the information he obtained fit together.
"That said, JPAC historians and analysts often have easier access to much of this information and can obtain information that Mr. Emory may have a difficult time obtaining," she said. "In this instance, we were able to use the information Mr. Emory provided as a starting point for researching the case."
Emory also has helped identify other Pearl Harbor victims, including Payton L. Vanderpool Jr. and Seaman Apprentice Thomas Hembree.
There are 330 others buried under headstones inscribed "Unknown."
More than 1,500 sailors, soldiers, Marines and civilians who died during the attack were never identified. About 1,000 of the unidentified are interred aboard the USS Arizona.