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Woman, 88, hopes DNA will ID kin lost in 1941


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POSTED: Sunday, June 14, 2009

TROPHY CLUB, Texas » The sister of a naval officer believed killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor is awaiting the results of DNA tests from Hawaii that could identify her brother's remains more than six decades after the infamous attack.

Last month, 88-year-old Meryl Patton, who lives in the North Texas town of Trophy Club near Fort Worth, was contacted by the U.S. Navy's casualty office.

Officials asked her for a DNA sample as part of an effort to identify the remains of unknown servicemen, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Patton's brother, Starring Winfield, a 22-year-old petty officer third class in the Navy, was stationed in the radio room of the USS Oklahoma when Japanese torpedo bombers fired on the ships along “;Battleship Row.”;

As many as nine torpedoes struck the USS Oklahoma within minutes, tearing holes in the hull, filling the ship with water and killing 429 men on board.

The remains of 44 sailors who could not be identified are buried as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific . But in the last six years the Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu has started using mitochondrial DNA to try to identify the men.

It is unknown how long it will take to get the results from Patton.