Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor Laid to Rest

September 13, 2022
A photo of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial from above, Honolulu, Hawaii

This has kind of been an unsolved mystery and it gives us closure to finally know what happened to Bert, where he is and that he’s being finally laid to rest after being listed as unknown for so long.

Brad McDonald, a nephew of Herbert “Bert” Jacobson, a 21-year-old sailor who was killed at Pearl Harbor. Jacobson’s remains were identified in 2019, and he was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday.

Background: Herbert "Bert" Jacobson, a sailor, was killed more than 80 years ago during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor — one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. soil in modern history. His family never knew exactly how he died nor were they able to bury him at a family service, as his remains were not identified and were buried as an "unknown" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. His name was inscribed on the Courts of the Missing — "a centerpiece" of the National Memorial located in Honolulu, Hawaii.

  • Since the attack in 1941, several attempts have been made to identify the remains of those killed on the USS Oklahoma — the battleship Jacobson served on, which was docked at the time of the attack.
  • Due to efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which began in 2015, Jacobson was officially accounted for in 2019. Scientists used anthropological and dental analysis to help them eventually identify his remains.
  • Along with Jacobson, 354 other service members killed on the USS Oklahoma were identified.

Why It Matters: After many delays for the service (largely due to the pandemic), Jacobson's family members attended his funeral at the Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday. They also finally know he was killed on the USS Oklahoma after torpedoes sunk the ship.

Here is an expert from The Associated Press on why Tuesday's memorial service for Jacobson is "especially significant" to his nephew:

“When Bert joined the Navy, he ran into a fella from South Dakota who was an orphan,” McDonald said. “When they got a weekend pass, Bert took him home and the orphan met his (Bert’s) younger sister.”

Orville McDonald and Norma Jacobson dated and later married, giving McDonald a favorite ending to that story.

“That orphan was my dad, and Bert’s sister was my mom,” he said. “So, I wouldn’t be here without Bert.”

Sailor killed at Pearl Harbor to be laid to rest, at last (The Associated Press)

by Jenna Lee,