Unidentified Wiki

Shelby Treadway was a United States Navy sailor who was was killed on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His remains were identified on September 28, 2020 along with Bernard Wimmer, Rodger Butts, and Charles Jones.

Early Life

Shelby Treadway was born on February 15, 1915 to Peter Treadway and Liza Hubbard in Clay County, Kentucky. The third of four brothers, Treadway joined the United States Navy from Louisville, Kentucky on April 30, 1940. His service number is 2873947. At the time of his death, his rank was Gunner's Mate 3rd class. He was assigned to the USS Oklahoma on August 9, 1940.

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 torpedoed and capsized. Treadway was killed during the attack, though his exact circumstances are unknown. His remains were located between 1941 and 1944, 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 Treadway, 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.

Treadway's name is featured on the USS Oklahoma Memorial with his Marble Stand in Row 4 and the Honolulu Memorial of the Courts of the Missing. He was also awarded the Purple Heart.


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, Shelby Treadway was identified on September 28, 2020.