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Colorado family gets answers 80 years after uncle died in Pearl Harbor

FIRESTONE, Colo. (KDVR) – 80th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor has special meaning to a Colorado family. Earlier this year, the mystery of the uncle who died on December 7, 1941 was solved.

JD Hiskett told FOX31, talking about his great uncle’s role in the attack that pushed the United States into World War II.

Denis Hiskett, 20, of Nebraska, Nebraska, was a firefighter aboard the USS Oklahoma, docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As the Japanese attack progressed, the ship was torpedoed six times and capsized. More than 400 sailors were trapped inside.

“How he died – if he drowned, we don’t know. If he died from a torpedo hit, we don’t know,” said JD Hiskett, who lives in Firestone.

The sailor’s remains were buried in an unmarked grave at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – also known as “Punchbowl,” near Honolulu – over the past few decades.

“We don’t have a place to go and order flowers or anything. He just lay in a grave in Hawaii,” said J.D. Hiskett.

The family closed quite a few books about the uncle they never knew, until one actually arrived at JD’s house, delivered by Defense Accounting Agency POW / MIA, the government agency in charge of locating and identifying people missing after military conflicts. As it turns out, the agency compiled the book after unearthing the remains of unknown sailors aboard the USS Oklahoma a few years ago.

After conducting DNA and tooth analysis, they discovered a match. Looks like Uncle Denis – missing for 8 decades – is no more.

The surviving family members had never even seen a picture of Denis until the book was published.

“I thought, God, he looks like my dad,” Tom Hiskett, the closest surviving family member, told FOX31.

Thanks to the Pentagon, the family now has everything from Denis’s enlistment papers to his signature. It’s a glimpse into a life just beginning when it has tragically ended.

This weekend, Denis’ remains will be buried near his parents at a cemetery in southern California.

“We think that’s what he wanted,” said J.D. Hiskett.

Family members will also attend with the help of FOX31. We named Denis Hiskett our FOX31 Serve those who serve Hero of the month for December 2021.

Along with the honor is a $500 Visa gift card, offered by our sponsors at Plumbing Service, Ford Dealer and the Leo Hill Charitable Foundation. The money will help cover travel expenses for the family to attend the memorial service.

JD Hiskett, a veteran of the Marines, told us he had an emotional visit to Pearl Harbor a few years ago.

“I stood there when I knew I had relatives there. And it just gives me goosebumps now,” he said.

Those feelings returned, knowing his family’s forgotten hero was no longer forgotten.

https://kdvr.com/news/problem-solvers/serving-those-who-serve/colorado-family-gets-answers-80-years-after-uncle-died-at-pearl-harbor/ Colorado family gets answers 80 years after uncle died in Pearl Harbor

Emma Bowman

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