Eighty Years After Pearl Harbor, DNA Identifies Two Brothers | TIME

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Published on 30 Nov 2021, 20:00
The Honor Guard’s three-volley salute in Honolulu marks the end of an 80-year-old mystery. It traces back to Dec. 7, 1941, and the attack on Pearl Harbor. By the time the bombs stopped dropping, more than 2,403 Americans lay dead on sunken ships, in churning water or on sandy beaches. Most of these troops were left at the bottom of the ocean, where there were no intact skeletons, and little clues of the fallen service members’ identities. The remains they could recover were buried anonymously as "unknowns" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl. Only now are two of those troops, brothers Harold and William Trapp, being laid to rest under headstones bearing their own names. It was a puzzle ultimately unlocked by science and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The DPAA is an obscure unit inside the Pentagon, which scours the globe for the remains of long-lost service members who vanished in the air, land or sea during combat. This short documentary from TIME takes viewers along as the DPAA utilizes DNA and forensic analysis to identify the Trapp brothers, and ultimately bring them home to their family.

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Eighty Years After Pearl Harbor, Two Brothers Are Finally Identified By DNA