Governor and First Lady Honor Navy Seaman 2nd Class Vernon N. Grow


3-30-2017

SACRAMENTO On behalf of all Californians, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Navy Seaman 2nd Class Vernon N. Grow, a U.S. serviceman missing from World War II.

This week, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that Navy Seaman 2nd Class Grow's remains have been identified. He will be buried on April 7 with full military honors.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Vernon N. Grow, 25, of Redding, CA, bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation and the Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends. In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol. Navy Seaman 2nd Class Grow's family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.

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The following information was provided by DPAA:

In December 1941, Navy Seaman 2nd Class Grow was assigned to the 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 capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in 429 casualties, including Navy Seaman 2nd Class Grow.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred. In September 1947, members of the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains 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 unidentified remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP) in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Navy Seaman 2nd Class Grow.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

Scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used DNA analysis, circumstantial evidence and other tools in the identification of the remains.

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