Remains of Kentucky sailor killed at Pearl Harbor identified
Remains of Paducah native who served aboard USS Oklahoma were recently identified
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Gov. Andy Beshear recognizes the sacrifice of a Paducah sailor who died in World War II but whose remains have only now been identified.
Navy Fireman 2nd Class Hal J. Allison, 21, of Paducah, was accounted for on Oct. 14, 2021.
“These identifications are always heartbreaking for the families and for all Kentuckians who honor their service and sacrifice,” said Gov. Beshear. “But we are grateful for the scientific advances and professional determination that makes it possible finally to bring our heroes home.”
On Dec. 7, 1941, Allison was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to capsize quickly. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Allison.
On Dec. 7, 1991, the 50th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, The Paducah Sun published the following letter from Allison’s sister, Ruby Wallace of Symsonia:
“Our first news about the attack came on Dec. 8, 1941. The president made a radio announcement concerning the attack on Pearl Harbor, and his declaration of war on Japan. I remember seeing the look of total shock on the faces of my parents, Henry and Opal Allison. I realized that my brother, Fireman Second Class Hal Jake Allison, was stationed there on the U.S. Oklahoma.
“My mother rose from her chair and said, ‘My son is dead.’ I knew in my heart my brother was dead. With hope in our hearts we waited every day for news of my brother. Finally a telegram arrived with the news we all dreaded: Hal was missing in action. Weeks later, a second telegram took the last shred of hope left with the news my brother was missing at sea and presumed dead.
“His family will always cherish his memory and the price he paid for our freedom.”
Services for Fireman Allison have not been set. Gov. Beshear will order flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Fireman Allison on the day of his interment.