Patrick Chess

Patrick Lloyd Chess is a United States Navy serviceman who was killed on the USS Oklahoma after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was identified on January 9, 2020.

Early Life

Patrick Chess was born to James and Josephine Chess on November 20, 1917 in Yakima, Washington. The last of five siblings, he joined the United States Navy. At the time of his death, Chess' rank was Navy Shipfitter 3rd Class.

Pearl Harbor Attack

At about 7:48 AM on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service conducted a surprise military strike against the United States at the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The USS Oklahoma was one of the first ships to be attacked. The ship was hit with torpedoes and capsized, killing Chess in the process. His remains were located, but not identified. As a result, he was considered Missing in Action while his remains were buried in the Punchbowl at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Overall, 2,335 Americans were killed in the attack, 429, including Chess, were on the USS Oklahoma. The surprise attack led to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". The following day, the US Congress declared war on Japan which led to the United States' formal entry into World War II.


In September 1947, the American Graves Registration Service was tasked to identify unknown soldier's remains from the Pacific Theatre. However, they were only able to identify thirty-five of the crewmen from the USS Oklahoma. In October 1949, the American Graves Registration Service ruled Chess, along with many soldiers whose remains were not identified, as unrecoverable.

Parker's name was memorialized on the Honolulu Memorial's Courts of the Missing and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.


In 2015, the Department of Defense and the Defense POW/MIA accounting agency initiated a program to exhume the unidentified sailors of the USS Oklahoma to try and match their DNA against the DNA of family members whose loved ones were never identified. Scientists at the D.P.A.A. used anthropological analysis and scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis to identify the servicemen.

Through these methods, Patrick Lloyd Chess was identified on January 9, 2020 and the identification was announced on September 10, 2020.

Chess will be reburied in his hometown on October 22, 2020.


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