Ohio County man killed in Pearl Harbor attack ID’d, to be buried in May


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WEHT) – Federal officials have identified an Ohio County man who was killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Welborn L. Ashby, 24, of Centertown, Kentucky, was identified and will be buried May 31 in his hometown. Ashby, a navy fireman, was assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia in December 1941, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS West Virginia sustained multiple torpedo hits, but the crew prevented it from capsizing, and it came to rest on the shallow harbor floor. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 106 crewmen, including Ashby. 

During efforts to salvage the USS West Virginia, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crewmen, representing at least 66 individuals. Those who could not be identified, including Ashby, were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, officials said.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, in cooperation with cemetery officials, used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

Ashby’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For family and funeral information, Navy Service Casualty office can be called at 800-443-9298. More information about Ashby can be found here.

(This story was originally published on January 22, 2021)

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