Flags ordered at half-staff for fallen Ky. veterans recently identified

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Gov. Matt Bevin has ordered flags lowered at half-staff on Friday to honor two Kentucky veterans whose remains had gone unidentified for many years and will be re-interred that day.

Navy Seaman First Class Millard Burk Jr., of Pikeville, was 19 when he died during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, while serving aboard the USS Oklahoma. His ship was moored at Ford Island when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, causing it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Burk.

His unidentified remains were interred in the Punchbowl/National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific until 2015. Advanced scientific and circumstantial analysis by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recently resulted in his successful identification.

Burk will be re-buried at the Punchbowl.

Private First Class James Cletuis Williams, 19, of Hopkinsville, was killed in action on July 20, 1950, in the vicinity of Taejon, Republic of Korea. Serving with the Medical Company, 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division, he died while transporting patients from the Taejon Air Strip. Due to a large-scale enemy attack, the Division was ordered to withdraw before Williams could be medically processed and evacuated.

Williams' remains, although unidentified at the time, were transferred to the Punchbowl/National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and buried as a Korean War Unknown. Through exhaustive investigative efforts, he was successfully identified in 2018.

He will be buried at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville.

Gov. Bevin encourages all individuals, businesses, organizations, and government agencies to join in this tribute of lowering the flag to honor Burk and Williams.


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