Mother: Mrs. Lillie Moore, Cumberland Gap, TN.

On May 19, 2021, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Seaman First Class William Brooks, missing from World War II.

Seaman First Class Brooks entered the U.S. Navy from Tennessee and served on the USS Oklahoma. On December 7, 1941, the battleship USS Oklahoma was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when attacked by Japanese forces. The Oklahoma suffered multiple torpedo hits, causing it to capsize. Four hundred and twenty-nine sailors and Marines were lost, including SEA1 Brooks. In the days, months, and years following the attack, remains of men lost aboard the Oklahoma were recovered. Those remains that could not be identified were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Honolulu, Hawaii (NMCP). In 2015, the DPAA received authorization to exhume unknown remains associated with the Oklahoma and reexamine them using advances in forensic technology. From June through November 2015, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) personnel, in cooperation with cemetery officials, exhumed all remaining caskets associated with the USS Oklahoma at the NMCP and transferred the remains to DPAA laboratories. Laboratory analysis and the totality of the circumstantial evidence available established one set of these remains as those of SEA1 Brooks.

Seaman First Class Brooks is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

A solemn Marine in dress uniform stood in the doorway.

It was September 2021, and it was his duty to deliver horrific news.

The 74-year-old woman who answered the door at her Arnold, Maryland home, however, didn’t have a military spouse, a child or anyone in her immediate family who had gone to war.

Linda Dowling wondered quickly if she had done something wrong.

“We have identified the remains of your late uncle,” the Marine said, very practiced and formal.

He must mean Uncle Billy, Dowling thought.

  • Rank: Seaman First Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 19 July 1922
  • Date of death: 7 December 1941
  • County: Claiborne
  • Hometown: Cumberland Gap
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: USS Oklahoma (BB-37)
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Pearl Harbor
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VIII, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor William Brooks

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