19-Year-Old Black Sailor Killed in Pearl Harbor Will Be Laid to Rest 80 Years Later


April 10, 2024

Almost 80 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the remains of a Black teenage sailor from Virginia have been found and will soon be laid to rest, the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency shared in March.

David Walker served as a Mess Attendant 3rd Class USS California during World War II. On December 7, 1941, Japan conducted a surprise military strike on the Hawaii naval base where the USS California was docked. 103 crewmen, including Walker who was just 19 years old, died in the attack. 

Walker’s body was exhumed in 2018 along with 24 others who were buried as “unknowns” in a Hawaiian cemetery. Using dental analysis and mitochondrial DNA analysis performed by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Walker was identified this year.


Walker was a student at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. He left school early to enlist in the Navy about a year before he died, according to a newspaper clipping acquired by the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. His death at Pearl Harbor was also announced in the newspaper.

Walker will be buried in September at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. on September 5, 2024. ​Meanwhile, a rosette will be placed next to his name at the Walls of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, indicating that Walker has been found and accounted for.

Cover photo: 19-year-old Black Sailor Killed In Pearl Harbor Will Be Laid To Rest 80 Years Later / Photo credit: United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency


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