FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – Governor Matt Bevin has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff on Friday, July 19, 2019, in honor of two Kentucky servicemen who were killed in action during World War II and the Korean War, but whose remains were only recently identified.
Navy Seaman 1st Class Millard Burk Jr., 19, of Pikeville, died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 7, 1941, he was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Burk.
Burk's unidentified remains were interred in the Punchbowl / National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific until 2015. Advanced scientific and circumstantial analysis by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) recently resulted in his successful identification. He will be buried in the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Private First Class James Cletuis Williams, 19, of Hopkinsville, was killed in action on July 20, 1950, in the vicinity of Taejon, Republic of Korea. Serving with the Medical Company, 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division, he died while transporting patients from the Taejon Air Strip. Due to a large-scale enemy attack, the Division was ordered to withdraw before Williams could be medically processed and evacuated.
Williams' remains, although unidentified at the time, were transferred to the Punchbowl / National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and buried as a Korean War Unknown. Through exhaustive investigative efforts, he was successfully identified in 2018.
PFC Williams will be buried at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West.