21-year-old Portsmouth sailor who died during Pearl Harbor attack in WWII finally identified


Photo Courtesy – Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeffrey Hanshaw, DVIDS)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth sailor who died during the attack at Pearl Harbor in World War II has finally been identified.

Officials from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) confirmed that Navy Mess Attendant 1st Class Octavius Mabine from Portsmouth was accounted for on Nov. 24, 2020.

Assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, Mabine was only 21-year-old when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits which caused it to quickly capsize. A total of 429 crewmen, including Mabine, died during the attack on the ship. He wasn’t the only Portsmouth sailor who died during the attack. Navy Ship’s Cook 1st Class Rodger C. Butts was accounted for on Sept. 28, 2020.

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 1947, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) worked with Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks to recover and identify fallen U.S. personnel, including 35 men from the USS Oklahoma.

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 Butts and Mabine.

To identify their remains, scientists from DPAA dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.

Butts’ and Mabine’s names is recorded on the Walls 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 he has been accounted for.

Mabine is expected to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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