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September 26, 2023

Sailor from Massachusetts, perished at Pearl Harbor, to be buried in Arlington

On Monday, the remains of a Massachusetts-born seaman who perished when the USS Oklahoma was hit by numerous torpedoes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 were interred.

The burial takes place more than four years after the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency declared that Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Roman W. Sadlowski, of Pittsfield, had been located using cutting-edge DNA and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence, more than 80 years after the attack that propelled the United States into World War II.

According to Joe Makarski Jr., Sadlowski’s nephew, who provided a DNA sample around 10 years ago that helped identify the remains, approximately 15 family members from Massachusetts, Texas, and Florida are slated to attend the ceremony, which was postponed due to the coronavirus epidemic.

“We’re quite excited,” Makarski, 81, said in a telephone interview. “It’s been a long time, and I am glad to be alive to finalize it.”

Makarski never met his mother’s brother, but he grew up hearing about him.

“I remember my Dad and Mom speaking about him, and they always spoke very highly of him,” he said. “I know he worked at General Electric and he did the books for my mother’s little beauty salon in Pittsfield. Growing up, I always saw his picture at my grandmother’s house.”

According to information from the Navy’s Office of Community Outreach, Sadlowski, then age 21, joined the Navy on July 31, 1940.

His responsibilities as an electrician’s mate included running, maintaining, and fixing the battleship’s electrical motors, generators, and alternators.

According to Navy reports, the USS Oklahoma was one of the first ships attacked during the Japanese raid on December 7, 1941. It was hit by three aerial torpedoes just before 8 a.m., while many sailors were still asleep below deck.

Within 15 minutes of the initial strike, the port side was entirely split apart, and hundreds of crew members were trapped within. For their efforts in trying to save their fellow sailors, two members of the crew received the Medal of Honor, and a third received the Navy Cross.

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