Twin brothers Leo and Rudolph Blitz were 16 when they applied to join the Navy. They were so young that their father had to go to the recruiting office in Omaha and give his permission. Rudolph wanted a Navy career. Leo wanted to learn a trade.

It was 1938. Times were hard and the boys lived with their family in a two-bedroom house in a neighborhood of Russian immigrants in Lincoln, Neb. They enlisted that May. Three years later, on Dec. 7, 1941, they were killed when their ship, the USS Oklahoma, was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

For 78 years, they rested among hundreds of the ship’s fallen who were recovered but never identified, buried as unknowns in a cemetery in Hawaii. Then, in 2019, a remarkable Pentagon forensics project identified them as part of an effort to put names with all of the ship’s unknowns.

Now, after identifying the bones of the Blitz twins and almost 400 other Oklahoma men over six years, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is closing down the program.... Read More: Washington Post