Skull discovered at Pearl Harbor might be from Japanese Pilot

Discussion in 'Stories' started by vikingBerserker, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    APNewsBreak: Skull discovered at Pearl Harbor - Welcome to Charter.net

    HONOLULU (AP) — An excavation crew recently made a startling discovery at the bottom of Pearl Harbor when it unearthed a skull that archeologists suspect is from a Japanese pilot who died in the historic attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

    Archaeologist Jeff Fong of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific described the discovery to The Associated Press and the efforts under way to identify the skull. He said the early analysis has made him "75 percent sure" that the skull belongs to a Japanese pilot.

    He did not provide specifics about what archaeologists have learned about the skull, but said it was not from one of Hawaii's ancient burial sites. They also contacted local police and ruled out the possibility that it's from an active missing person case, said Denise Emsley, public affairs officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, which was being inundated with media calls Wednesday about the skull from international news organizations.

    The items found with the skull, which was determined not to be from a Native Hawaiian, provided some clues: forks, scraps of metal and a Coca-Cola bottle Fong said researchers have determined was from the 1940s.

    Fifty-five Japanese airmen were killed and 29 of their aircraft were shot down in the attack, compared with the 2,400 U.S. service members who died. No Japanese remains have been found at Pearl Harbor since World War II.

    Pearl Harbor is home to the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits on top of the battleship that sank during the attack. It still holds the bodies of more than 900 men.

    The skull remains intact despite being dug up with giant cranes and shovels.

    It was April 1 when items plucked from the water during the overnight dredging were laid to dry. When it was determined a skull was among the dredged items, contractors were ordered to stop the work, Emsley said. "We definitely wanted it to be handled correctly," she said.

    "That's why it's been kept quiet. We didn't want to excite people prematurely," she said.

    The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command on Oahu, charged with identifying Americans who were killed in action but were never brought home, has been asked to determine who the skull belongs to. The cranium was turned over to the command's lab for tests that will include examining dental records and DNA, said John Byrd, the lab's director and a forensic anthropologist.

    "We're working on the case but the case is just in the early stages of analysis," he said. "We're not going to know much more about it for a while yet."

    The lab is the only accredited Skeletal Identification Laboratory in the United States. JPAC has identified more than 560 Americans since the command was activated in 2003. When more information is gleaned from the skull, other agencies could get involved including the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Japanese Consulate.

    "At this point it's just a hypothesis, it's not a conclusion," Byrd said. "It might be very interesting or it could be very mundane."

    Daniel Martinez, the National Park Service's chief historian for Pearl Harbor, said experts on Pearl Harbor know enough about the specific location where Japanese planes went down in the attack that they might be able to match the skull with a crewmember.

    "They landed in a variety places throughout Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu," Martinez said. "In the area of Pearl Harbor, we know what plane was shot down and who was in the crew."

    Martinez said that beyond the historical significance of the finding, it is a reminder of a life lost.

    "I think that anytime you're able to reclaim a casualty and perhaps even identify it, regardless of what country, it may bring closure to a family," he said.

    Returning remains to a family in Japan will also have religious significance.

    "In terms of Japanese religious belief and practice, it's very important to recover the physical remains," said George Tanabe, a University of Hawaii at Manoa professor emeritus of Japanese religion. "The dead are still thought of as having some sort of afterlife. They still need to be fed. If you don't feed the souls of the dead, they will become hungry ghosts."
     
  2. FinishForty

    FinishForty New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    This is fascinating. Hard to believe after this much time. I'll look forward to following this story, thank you for posting.
     
  3. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    51,156
    Likes Received:
    847
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Adelaide Sth. Aust.
    Look forward to knowing the answer too!
     
  4. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,708
    Likes Received:
    29
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Sales for Karl Performance
    Location:
    Ankeny, Iowa
    Home Page:
    Wow, very interesting. Hope the skull gets identified positively. It might just help bring some closure to a family on either side.
     
  5. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,740
    Likes Received:
    517
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    Interesting find! Will be interesting to see what the identification of it will bring, no doubt so more fascinating information to come out of this (or not as the case maybe).
     
  6. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,840
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Lancaster, California
    Seen this story this morning. Hopefully they can some what identify who it is, and give the family some closure.
     
  7. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    51,156
    Likes Received:
    847
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Adelaide Sth. Aust.
    Some dipsh!t on another forum, made some [email protected] joke about it and followed up with another slagging comment, some people just don't have any brain cells at all.
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    You will always find people who will not move on and make stupid comments and what not. These people mostly are uneducated ignorant people in my opinion.
     
  9. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    51,156
    Likes Received:
    847
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Adelaide Sth. Aust.
    Amen to that Chris.
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
Loading...

Share This Page