UPDATE: Funeral service set, flags at half-staff ordered for fallen Pearl Harbor sailor

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UPDATE POSTED 3:32 P.M. AUGUST 4, 2021

PARIS, Ky. (WTVQ) – Flags at all state buildings have been ordered to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, Aug. 5 to honor a Kentucky sailor killed at Pearl Harbor.

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Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Alphard S. Owsley, 23, of Paris will be laid to rest in his hometown. His funeral will be a grave-side service on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Paris-Bourbon County Cemetery.

According to the Hinton-Turner Funeral Home, Rolling Thunder will lead the procession into the service.

All individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies are encouraged to join in this tribute of lowering the flag to honor Owsley.

Additional flag status information is available at http://governor.ky.gov/flag-status.

UPDATE POSTED 2 P.M. JULY 30, 2021

PARIS, Ky. (WTVQ) – The remains of a Bourbon County  sailor killed on the USS Oklahoma at Pearly Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 have returned home for burial.

The remains of 23-year-old Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Alphard S. Owsley were brought home Thursday. The Paris, Ky., Fire Department greeted the remains with a patriotic tribute.

“We appreciate your courage and service to this country. Welcome home.” the department said in a Facebook post.

Owsley is scheduled to be buried Aug. 5 next to his sister in Paris-Bourbon County Cemetery with the Hinton-Turner Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

His remains were escorted back to Paris by the Kentucky State Police and Rolling Thunder as well as the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department.
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ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 1 P.M. JUNE 30, 2021

PARIS, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Wednesday that Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Alphard S. Owsley, 23, of Paris, Ky., killed during World War II, has been accounted for.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Owsley was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Owsley.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks.

The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.

In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Owsley.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.­

To identify Owsley’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.

Owsley’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Owsley will be buried Aug. 5, 2021, in his hometown.