Pearl Harbor Sailor from Sheridan to be Buried in Arlington National Cemetery | Big Horn Basin Media

Pearl Harbor Sailor from Sheridan to be Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Written by on February 7, 2023

U.S. Navy sailor and Sheridan resident Herman Schmidt has been accounted for 82 years after he lost his life on the U.S.S. Oklahoma in the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

On Jan. 3, 2023, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced they had accounted for U.S. Navy Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Herman Schmidt after positive identification of his remains. Now, over 82 years after his death in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Schmidt will find a final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Schmidt was born in Alexander, Kansas on Oct. 22, 1913. However, his hometown was Sheridan, Wyoming. On June 15, 1937, Schmidt enlisted as an Apprecite Seaman in the U.S. Navy in Salt Lake City, Utah. After serving at the Naval Training Station in San Diego, California, Schmidt was assigned to the U.S.S. Oklahoma on Sept. 25, 1937.

US Navy Herman Schmidt

Schmidt was aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma when she was attacked and capsized on Dec. 7, 1941, by Japanese aircraft. He was amongst the 429 crewmen who lost their lives on the ship.

Initially, Schmidt’s unidentified remains were recovered and interned with the other unidentified serviceman in the Halawa and Nu’unau Cemeteries. In October 1949 – after an exhumation for the first attempt of identifying the dead – the remains were reinterred in 61 caskets in 45 graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – also known as “Punchbowl – in Oahu, Hawaii.

Project Oklahoma sought to identify the remains of the men lost on the U.S.S. Oklahoma. Between June and November 2015, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns dental and anthropological analysis, including mitochondrial, Y chromosome, and autosomal DNA analysis.

USS Oklahoma on fire

Of the 388 service members unaccounted for, 355 have been individually identified through Project Oklahoma – including Herman Schmidt.

Schmidt’s remains were positively identified on Jan. 13, 2021. Living family members of Schmidt – currently living in California – made the decision to reintern his remains in Arlington National Cemetery.

Upon identification, the families of those identified through Project Oklahoma are given the choice to either have the Sailor re-interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, or choose an alternate location, such as a veterans’, private family site, or Arlington National Cemetery.

On December 7, 2021 – the 80th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor – the final 33 Sailors unidentified by DNA were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Arlington National Cemetery with Washington Monument

Courtesy Unsplash and J Amill Santiago

U.S. Navy Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Herman Schmidt will be interned in Arlington National Cemetery on Feb. 23, 2023.

Schmidt’s military distinctions include:

  • Purple Heart Medal
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet Clasp)
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Bronze Star)
  • American Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal

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