BY KRISTINE M. STURKIE, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST, NAVY EXCHANGE SERVICE COMMAND
As most NEXCOM Enterprise associates are aware, the Uniform Support Center provides uniforms to service members stationed around the world through the Customer Contact Center, as well as
through myNavyExchange.com. However, few realize that the Uniform Support Center also supports the U.S. Navy in a variety of other ways, including ensuring a proper burial for some of our nation’s war heroes.
The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) laboratory in Hawaii continues to work to identify the remains of Sailors and Marines who were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At that time, many service members’ remains were buried together because they couldn’t be identified. However, as technology has improved over the years and family DNA can be used to identify remains, DPAA is now able to return service members back to their loved ones for burial.
Once DPAA identifies a service member, a request is sent from the Office of Deceased Affairs to the Uniform Support Center so that the appropriate Navy or Marine Corps uniform can be provided to the family. The staff at the Uniform Support Center takes great pride in ensuring that every detail of the uniform is correct for each individual service member. Over the past 12 months, more than 50 requests have been fulfilled to provide uniforms and/or uniform components for these service members.
Since these service members were killed more than 75 years ago, some of the ribbons and medals required, such as the World War I Victory Medal and the Yangtze Service Medal, are no longer readily available. However, the Uniform Support Center staff works closely with its supplier to ensure that all the required awards are provided to the family.
The Uniform Support Center takes great pride in providing Navy and Marine Corps uniforms to this nation’s heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice 75 years ago at Pearl Harbor. The staff continues to standby to ensure every war hero receives the appropriate uniform for burial.
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Sailors from the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Honors and Ceremonies prepare to present an American flag to the family of ENS Lewis Stockdale, who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, during a reinterment ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. Stockdale’s remains were recently identified and he was buried with full military honors. –U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laurie Dexter