FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – 81 years after dying in the attack on Pearl Harbor, a sailor will be buried next to his brother at Fresno Memorial Gardens.

DNA samples from family members allowed scientists to identify the remains of Denver True Kyser.  He was 18 years old when he died in the sinking of the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor. His remains were never identified; until now.

It was December 7, 1941 – a day that will live in infamy.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed thousands and devastated America’s Pacific Fleet.

USS Oklahoma Sailor Seaman 2nd Class Denver True “D.T.” Kyser was just 18 years old.

“He enlisted in the navy on July 8, 1941, at age 17. His mother, my grandmother, signed permission for him to enlist at that age,” Nephew Duane Kyser says. 

Kyser was serving on the USS Oklahoma when it was torpedoed and sunk.

Remains were recovered with great care but the process was difficult and took years.

“They had dental records like their body weight and that was it.”

The soldiers’ remains, sometimes just bone fragments, were interred in a grave for unknown soldiers.

Kyser’s is now known thanks to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s USS Oklahoma Project.

“The Oklahoma project is a huge project because we have so many service members that we needed to identify. So there were 394 sailors and marines that were unaccounted for. So back in the 1940s, DNA testing was not available,” USS Oklahoma Project Lead Carrie LeGarde said.

The USS Oklahoma Project found D.T.’s remains.

He’ll be buried next to his brother this weekend at Fresno Memorial Gardens.

“My sister has two sons also, and they’re very interested in the family history. So it’s something that we’ve been able to develop and explore and really find to be interesting,” Kyser said.

More information on the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s work is available on their website