Press Release | May 10, 2021

USS Oklahoma Brothers Accounted For From World War II (Trapp, H. & Trapp, W.)

WASHINGTON  –   The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that brothers, Navy Fire Controlman 2nd Class Harold F. Trapp, 24, and Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class William H. Trapp, 23, of La Porte, Indiana, killed during World War II, were accounted for on Nov. 24, 2020.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Trapp brothers were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including the Trapp brothers.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including the Trapp brothers.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify the Trapp brothers’ remains, scientists from DPAA dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

The Trapp brothers’ names are recorded at the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to their names to indicate they have been accounted for.

The Trapp brothers will be buried on June 15, 2021, at the Punchbowl.

For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Navy for their partnership in this mission.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.

Harold Trapp’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000Xe0oEAC.

William Trapp’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000Xe0pEAC.