Family shares story of newly identified World War II sailors

May 16, 2019 GMT

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The niece of two Navy seamen from Minot who were killed in World War II hopes that the recent identification of their remains will bring more attention to their story.

Helene Jensen, niece of Calvin and Wilfred Palmer, told the Minot Daily News that she wants people to learn about the sacrifices the brothers made for the country.

The Palmers were among the 429 crewmen on the USS Oklahoma who died in the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.


Their remains were exhumed in 2015 from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. They were identified in March through DNA analysis.

Jensen said she was surprised when she was notified about her uncles, noting that her aunt had provided a positive DNA sample before her death.

The brothers’ names are listed on the cemetery’s Walls of the Missing, and a rosette will be placed next to their names to show they’ve been accounted for.

Jensen said her father, Charles Burns, was also aboard the USS Oklahoma, but he survived the attack and tried to save the Palmer brothers. Burns was forced to jump off the battleship and was able to swim to shore.

Burns died in 1992.

Jensen said the family plans to bury her uncles’ remains in August in Port Orchard, Washington, where Burns is also buried.


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com